Yesterday afternoon, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced that Brayden Schenn would be suspended for the first three games of the 2016-17 regular season for his hit on Washington forward T.J. Oshie. Today, Ron Hextall offered his thoughts on the punishment, and they weren't particularly positive.
"Yes, [I was] very surprised," Hextall said in his post-season press conference with the media in Voorhees, New Jersey. "I was very disappointed and we will consider the appeal process.
"Whether we will [appeal] or not, I'm not sure. We haven't dug in hard enough yet but we'll certainly consider it."
Unfortunately, according the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Flyers may have a hard time appealing the Schenn suspension. Section 18.12 states that only the NHL Players' Association can file an appeal on behalf of a player. If the NHLPA were to appeal the suspension for Schenn, commissioner Gary Bettman would decide if he felt that a hearing was necessary, and if so, whether the hearing would occur over the phone or in-person.
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 addition, Bettman's decision (if he chose to hold a hearing) would be final. Players are allowed to appeal a suspension over five games to a neutral discipline arbitrator following the involvement of the commissioner, but Schenn's situation does not qualify since he will only be held out for three contests.
Hextall apparently was having his front office look into all possible alternatives under the CBA.
"We never done this [fought a suspension], so I'm not sure. I have Barry [Hanrahan] looking at it right now to see what the process is. I know they told me we've got time because it's the end of the season."
I'm not saying that we're going to, we're going to check in the process and kinda look at all the evidence and look at what's out there, see if it makes sense."
Some have theorized that Schenn's suspension was dished out by the league due to an "accumulation" of hits by Schenn during the course of the Washington series. Capitals coach Barry Trotz specifically complained to the league office regarding Schenn's crosscheck to the knee of Evgeny Kuznetsov in Game 3. But asked if he thought Schenn had been suspended because of multiple questionable plays, Hextall noted that if that was the case, it was an unfair application of league discipline.
"I don't have the answer to that," Hextall said. "It certainly shouldn't. Every incident is a single incident on its own. Yes, if a person is a repeat offender, that comes into it, but you can't look at suspending a guy for multiple things so this is a one off to me on its own, and I don't agree with it."
Regardless of Hextall's opinion on the situation, it seems unlikely that Schenn's suspension will be overturned. Unless Philadelphia's front office can dig up another strategy buried in the CBA, it would take a successful appeal to the commissioner of hockey for the Flyers' forward to nullify the punishment handed out by the DoPS.
But that certainly doesn't mean that Hextall and the Flyers organization can't be angry about it.