Tuesday morning, independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that Tom Wilson‘s 20 game suspension for his hit on Oscar Sundqvist in the preseason would be reduced to 14 games.
One footnote in Das’ decision presents back-and-forth conversations between Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Commissioner Gary Bettman, and the Department of Player Safety before Wilson’s suspension was announced.
The NHLPA tried to argue that the commissioner’s office inappropriately influenced DoPS’s decision.
The footnote was first pointed out by the Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan.
From the Shyam Das footnotes … NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sent an email to DoPS that said, “Looks like a big one. The Emergency Assistance Fund is going to be happy,” referring to Wilson’s $1.2 million in forfeited salary. Wilson got roughly $378K back with the reduction pic.twitter.com/U8zP8qFGKh
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) November 13, 2018
From Das’ Decision:
I also am not persuaded by the NHLPA’s suggestion that the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner Daly improperly attempted to influence the DPS. The NHLPA cites an email Daly sent to Parros at 5:05 p.m. on September 30, 2018 stating: “Looks like a big one. The Emergency Assistance Fund [which receives forfeited salary of penalized players] is going to be happy.” Immediately prior to sending this email, Daly had been copied on five emails sent to Parros by other DPS personnel all stating that in their opinion Wilson had violated Rule 48. The NHLPA also cites Parros’ testimony that the day before the DPS hearing on this incident he was at an unrelated meeting at which the Commissioner said something to the effect: “You’re going to do the right thing or Do the right thing.” The evidence as a whole, including Parros’ testimony, does not establish that the DPS was improperly influenced by the cited comments of League officials.
Das concludes that Bettman and Daly did not influence DoPS’ decision, but the commissioner’s office sure seemed giddy to throw the book at Wilson.
Parros recollecting that Bettman said something along the lines of “You’re going to do the right thing or Do the right thing” is particularly noteworthy.
It follows how important, maybe even morally correct, Bettman believes this suspension is in the NHL making a statement. His decision to uphold Wilson’s suspension included the hope that this would be a “wake up call” for Wilson.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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