NHL Department of Player Safety reportedly startled by criticism, has a leak inside

Liam McCormick
February 13, 2024  (7:10 PM)

George Parros at the NHL office
Photo credit: The Hockey News

With the Morgan Rielly suspension now officially revealed to be five games for his retaliatory cross check to Ridly Greig, the NHL's Department of Player Safety is looking more lost than ever. Rielly received a harsh suspension for a cross check after a cocky empty net goal, something that is considered by many fans a warranted response in hockey. Now according to multiple insiders, the Department of Player Safety has a leak inside it, and they're concerned about the criticism they're receiving.

According to Darren Dreger, Rielly's suspension leaked online before the Leafs even found out about it.
Earlier today, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Depratment of Player Safety is becoming shocked and concerned at the growing amount of appeals. In recent years, more and more players have been filing appeals and making complaints about the inconsistencies from Player Safety.
I've heard from several sources that DoPS is a little rattled by the appeals to its rulings. Bettman backed George Parros in all three (although David Perron still can get money back from the independent arbitrator). Rasmus Andersson and Charlie McAvoy appealed punishments of fewer than six games, meaning Bettman was the final authority. 
That never used to happen, because everyone felt it a waste of time. What it did, however, was remind Parros and company to make sure everything had strict precedent. All rulings need to be defensible by previous punishment, because challenges are coming more often.

Now, as the NHL has suspended Rielly for five games, he falls one game short of being able to file an appeal with an independent arbitrator. Instead, because the suspension is less than six games, any appeal will be handled by Gary Bettman directly.
Some fans are even accusing Player Safety of reducing the suspension to five games from the expected six so that any appeal would go to Gary Bettman who would certainly uphold the suspension.
Taking all of this together, the NHL Department of Player Safety is being cast in a tough light right now - and may soon be primed for a change in leadership.
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NHL Department of Player Safety reportedly startled by criticism, has a leak inside

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