NHL-Rangers fined $250,000 for publicly criticising league executive

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NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers

(Reuters) - The New York Rangers have been fined $250,000 for making public comments that demeaned a league executive, the National Hockey League (NHL) said on Thursday.

The Rangers on Tuesday called for the removal of George Parros, the NHL head of player safety in charge of handing out punishments, for "dereliction of duty" after Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson was not suspended for his role in a melee between the two teams on Monday.

Wilson had punched Rangers' Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head while he lay prone on the ice before going on to beat and injure Artemi Panarin, an NHL most valuable player candidate.

Wilson, a repeat offender who has been suspended five times for violent acts, was fined just $5,000 for his actions and was not suspended.

"Public comments of the nature issued by the Rangers that were personal in nature and demeaning of a League executive will not be tolerated," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

"While we don't expect our Clubs to agree with every decision rendered by the Department of Player Safety, the extent to which the Rangers expressed their disagreement was unacceptable.

"It is terribly unfair to question George Parros' professionalism and dedication to his role and the Department of Player Safety."

The bad blood between the Rangers and Capitals spilled over into Wednesday's meeting when players from both teams threw their gloves to the ice and started throwing punches as soon as the puck was dropped.

Three separate fights broke out in the opening seconds and others, including one involving Wilson moments after he stepped on the ice, occurred early in the first period.

After the game, Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith and forward Ryan Strome said the league's lack of punishment had caused the fracas.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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