Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford has a lot of strong feelings regarding Tom Wilson.
When Wilson was supposedly challenged by Jamie Oleksiak in the second round of the 2018 playoffs, Rutherford was upset that Wilson refused the fight. “[H]e couldn’t run quick enough to get away from him,” Rutherford said then.
In December, Wilson threw down and engaged in Oleksiak, knocking the Penguins defenseman out with his fourth punch.
Now, Rutherford is upset about how Wilson engaged in the fight.
“All I know is, in that fight, Wilson didn’t even give Oleksiak a chance to get his gloves off,” Rutherford said according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey.
Replays show that Oleksiak, after a rough run on Matt Niskanen, got off the first punch and dropped his gloves at nearly the exact same time as Wilson.
Rutherford’s revelation came in an interview following Oleksiak’s trade back to the Dallas Stars on January 28.
The bad blood between Wilson and the Penguins began during their playoff series last spring. Wilson was involved in several controversial plays, including an illegal hit to the head of Zach Aston-Reese that caused the Capitals forward to be suspended three games. The Penguins were especially peeved when Wilson was caught smiling on the bench after Aston-Reese left the game.
“They don’t like us, we don’t like them,” Wilson said in December, the morning of his first game against the Pens since his head hit of Aston-Reese. “There’s your quote.”
During the first shift of the game, Wilson fought Oleksiak.
“I think both parties knew all the stuff that was said after last season leading up to it,” Wilson said after the game. “It probably had to be done sooner or later, give him a chance to defend his teammate on what happened last year.”
When asked about Rutherford’s comments, Wilson responded, “It doesn’t really matter, I don’t think.”
Headline photo: @capitals
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