Friday, May 4, 2012

Who is the NHLPA protecting?

The NHLPA is appealing the 25 game suspension of Raffi Torres for his illegal hit on Marian Hossa.  Understandable that the union wants to give a dues paying member the representation he pays them for but who is the association really protecting?  Is Hossa OK with this?  Was Hossa asked if he disagrees with the union (he also pays massive dues to), asking the league to reduce the punishment for the man who devastated him?

This association too often sides with the offenders and forgets about the victims.  Has the NHLPA ever considered applying its own internal sanctions against players who intentionally injure other dues paying members?  If you walked up to someone in your office and tried to take their head off you would likely be fired and the victim would have the right to file both criminal and civil charges with the full backing of his/her union.  Does Hossa have any of these rights?

The other bothersome part of this is the utter uselessness of it.  With Commissioner Garry Bettman being the sole adjudicator, he has never overturned or lessened a suspension.  This one will not be the first. 

The situation only points out again, that third party arbitration is required.  The league already does this with salary arbitration where independently hired judges handle all arbitration cases.  Why not third party arbitrators to handle suspension and supplementary discipline appeals?

The answer is a simple one.  The NHL never wants to allow an outside voice to judge the type and severity of discipline it hands out.  Salary arbitration is a simple dollars and cents procedure based on publicly available salary and statistical comparables. 

Using the NHL's past history of suspensions and fines measured against the actions which caused the discipline, would only point out and embarrass the NHL.  An independent adjudicator would have to try and make heads or tails of the jumble of mixed messages, star weighted decisions and inconsistent rulings and non-rulings over the years.  In other words the NHL would never want a third party to shine a light on how badly they have managed this area of their business over the years.

See you at the rink.

No comments: