Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler has the option of appealing his three-game suspension. He has until 48 hours after the time the NHLPA was notified of the suspension.
The Canucks had an off day on Friday when the suspension was announced, so Edler was not immediately available for comment and we do not know of his intentions.
The ability to appeal suspension was added in the 2013 NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement. Thirty-two players (not including Edler) have been suspended since last season. Only one has launched an appeal and that player was successful.
Phoenix Coyotes winger Paul Bissonnette appealed his ten-game suspension for leaving the bench to join an altercation last month. The NHL reduced his suspension by three games after they concluded there was a “lack of conclusive video evidence” and belief that Bissonette’s assertions about what happened were credible.
Edler and his representatives will have a much more difficult time appealing the suspension than Bissonette mainly because it was handed down by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s Director of Player Safety.
When a suspension under six gamesis appealed, it goes to Commissioner Gary Bettman and he will back his employee. It was easy for Bettman to reduce Bissonette’s suspension because it wasn’t handed down by Shanahan. The rulebook called for an automatic ten-game suspension for any player that leaves the bench to join an altercation. He’s going against the rulebook—not his employee.
Only suspension in excess of six games are appealed to a neutral arbitrator. Edler’s suspension is only three games in length, so the appeal will go to Bettman and he has the final decision.
Since the chances of Bettman reducing the suspension are close to zero, expect Edler to pass on an appeal and for him to accept the suspension.
18.12 Appeal to Commissioner. The NHLPA, on the Player’s behalf, may file an appeal to the Commissioner of any decision regarding Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct imposed by the League. The appeal shall be filed in writing no later than forty-eight (48) hours after the League’s notification to the NHLPA of its determination. If the term of the suspension is ongoing, the Player shall remain suspended pending the appeal (but not longer than the duration contained in the initial decision). The Commissioner shall endeavor to hear all appeals on an expedited basis and will determine whether the decision was supported by clear and convincing evidence. In the event the League’s underlying decision results in a suspension of five (5) NHL Games or less, the Commissioner shall determine in his sole discretion whether any type of hearing is required related to such review, and if he determines such a hearing is required, whether to hold a telephonic or in-person hearing. In the event the League’s underlying decision results in a suspension of six (6) NHL Games or more, the Commissioner shall conduct an inperson hearing. The Commissioner shall have the authority to consider any evidence relating to the incident even if such evidence was not available at the time of the initial Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct decision. Except in cases involving a suspension of six (6) or more NHL Games which shall be subject to an appeal pursuant to Section 18.13 below, the decision of the Commissioner in an appeal shall be final and binding in all respects and not subject to review. For purposes of Section 18.13 below, the Commissioner’s decision shall represent the complete and final decision of the League regarding whether the Player’s conduct violated League Playing Rules, as well as the length of the suspension imposed on the Player.