If the NHL has its way, Nazem Kadri will miss six straight additional playoff games for the Colorado Avalanche. If Kadri has his way, that sentence will be shortened on appeal.
On Thursday via Zoom, the appeal process will begin. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will hear the appeal of Kadri that his eight-game suspension for his Game 2 hit to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk was too severe.
Bettman will be the sole decider on the appeal. And, yes, one might argue that he may be a bit biased, as his own Director of Player Safety, George Parros, levied the initial suspension length. That’s why, through collective bargaining, NHL players have one more chance should the commish rule against them in such cases.
From my reporting on this matter, here’s what will happen starting tomorrow, and what will happen if Kadri appeals Bettman’s decision, should it go against him:
- Assuming Bettman rules to uphold the original sentence, Kadri has seven days to decide on a further appeal, to a neutral arbitrator.
- Since it would be in Kadri’s best interests, because we’re in the playoffs and all, he would be expected to file the second appeal immediately.
- Kadri has the right to the second appeal, because the suspension was for more than six games. Anything less than that, and he wouldn’t have the opportunity to appeal to a neutral arbitrator.
- Assuming Kadri appeals a second time, the case would be heard by “neutral discipline arbitrator” Shyam Das. Interestingly, Das has a reputation for being on the side of players in these things. He was the arbitrator who shortened the lengthy suspension of Milwaukee Brewers steroid user Ryan Braun in 2012 (he was later fired by Major League Baseball over this, which was heavily criticized in the media).
- Das would have another day to issue his ruling, and that would be binding. That’s how I’m expecting this to go. There are unconfirmed reports that Nazem Kadri has hired outside counsel to help represent him in the hearing with Bettman (and, presumably, with Mr. Das). You can bet Bettman will come with an armload of facts on his side though, too. Bettman is a New York lawyer well-schooled in courtroom procedures.
- Both sides would split the cost of the arbitrator, Mr. Das, if it goes that far.