NHLPA should appeal Pronger's suspension

Ok, I know the title makes me look a little crazy, especially given my history in advocating for tougher penalties, but the NHLPA should appeal Chris Pronger's suspension for stomping on Ryan Kessler with his skate. Bear with me for a minute as I make my point.

The NHLPA has one job: to make sure players are being treated fairly by the league. Despite popular belief this doesn't just mean a monetary fairness, but also fairness procedure, safety issues and any other issues that arise. This means that players who commit an egregious act need to have a fair hearing/trial. This was obviously not the case. Chris Pronger deserves to have his actions judged by what he did, not the media reaction to it. After announcing no suspension then, in an amazing coincidence *wink wink*, they find new evidence after the media reaction to starts to be embarrassing to the league. Despite Pronger getting less than he deserved everyone is entitled to a fair trial not one guided by the media and fans. Pronger did not receive a fair hearing. The NHLPA should quietly appeal the result and ask for a new hearing in which they present their case for a fair hearing.

(A quick aside, congrats to the media and fans who, correctly, kept this in the news long enough to have Campbell miraculously find this "new evidence". The "new evidence" was obviously "media pressure". We are hard on the media sometimes here, rightly so in a lot of cases, but they deserve credit for this one, even though it's absolutely absurd that this case had to come down to that).

Appealing a clear-cut dirty, and seriously dangerous, play would be a bold move on the NHLPA's part, but I am advocating for an even bolder move. If they win a new hearing for Chris Pronger, the NHLPA should present the case that Pronger deserves more games under his suspension (obviously allowing Ponger and his agent/lawyers to make the proper counter-arguments). The NHLPA works for all players not just Chris Pronger. This hearing wasn't fair for Pronger, but it wasn't fair for Kessler, Chris Simon, any player on the team Anaheim faces in the first round of the playoffs, any player that makes a questionable hit in the future and Pronger's next victim(s). With the Simon 30-game suspension the precedent has been sent that the worst thing you can do in hockey (other than break someone's neck with a cowardly cheap-shot) is to use your skate as a weapon. The reason's are obvious: skates are sharp and can cause a devastating injury. The punishment for doing this needs to be a severe deterrent. By allowing Pronger to only get 8 games the NHLPA would not be protecting the rest of it's players from future skate attacks by other players.

Still new NHLPA boss has done a good job talking about player safety, but we also need to see some action out of him. The only thing the league screwed up more than the length of the Pronger suspension was how they handled it. This is an opportunity for Paul Kelly to start making the NHL players suspensions correctly.


  1. Great post. I agree. I'd love to see Mr. Kelly announce at a press conference:

    "We've had a closed-door meeting with the NHL players regarding Chris Pronger's suspension. We took a vote and the results are as follows: Pronger is a dick. Thank you."

  2. 1) We agree with all your points listed here. However we believe that Pronger would not want NHLPA intervention.
    2) Instead he'd probably prefer to keep this a low profile case since he already got off much more easily than he should.
    3) Perhaps if he dredged the NHLPA into it, suddenly the NHL would come up with even newer, more damming evidence and be 'forced' to again reassess its original, oops second decision and give Chris the 30 games he deserved in the first place. ; )
    4) On a more serious note, the NHLPA would be in an interesting position there. It already allowed one of its players(Simon) to be suspended for 30 games and did nothing. If they appealed this, they would not only be guilty of the same double standard as the NHL, but it would also be looked upon that they were more interested in the offenders and not the victims who are also after all NHLPA members as well

  3. @Mike: I would love to see that press conference

    @Faux: See I disagree, I thought Simon had a fair trial. I don't think Pronger actually got one, mainly because of the media reaction. Of course a fair trial would include a longer suspension, but whose arguing semantics.

  4. I think that Pronger would like to let this die. He got off fairly easily with 8 games when he clearly deserved the same fate as Simon. A stomp is a stomp is a stomp. Using a skate to stomp somneone should be 30 games MINIMUM.

    The fact that he's a recognizable star and an influence and role model for children should indicate that he should get more than Simon, in my opinion. How many six year-olds will attempt to stomp a fallen player in the corner now?

  5. I'm sure Pronger wants this to go away as soon as possible, however, I don't think the NHLPA should let it die. This is about player safety and they should keep it in the news until something meaningful is done.