The NHL’s suspension appeal process needs to be better, and faster

Jason Spezza is serving a six-game suspension for his knee to the head on Neal Pionk. He’s currently four games into his suspension and awaiting an appeal with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Elliotte Friedman makes a valid point about appeals needing to be done faster in his latest 32 Thoughts.
From 32 Thoughts:
16. Something has to be done about appeal timelines. No matter what you think about Jason Spezza’s suspension, his previously clean record should earn him a fair appeal. Unless Commissioner Bettman surprisingly drops him a game, it’s almost impossible to get to an independent arbitrator before the six games are up. That’s not right, especially for someone with no history.
According to multiple reports, Spezza’s appeal hearing was on Tuesday — six days after he appealed the suspension. During that time, he’s missed three games, and we still haven’t heard anything about the appeal.
That doesn’t make sense.
At this point, Bettman will take one game off of Spezza’s suspension, and he’d be able to return on Saturday vs. the Canucks. If that even happens.
I understand that what Spezza did was predatory and dangerous, especially with Pionk’s head being …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Spezza’s suspension adds to a growing number of key absences for the Leafs

It comes as no surprise that Spezza was going to be suspended. The “in-person” hearing was definitely made the suspension a lock, and set the bar of Players Safety targeting around 5 games or possibly more, with Spezza having the opportunity to maybe negotiate it down. With Spezza’s long career suspension free career there was certainly a possibility of that, but then again Players Safety is about as predictable as a goaltending prospect.

Toronto’s Jason Spezza has been suspended for six games for Kneeing Winnipeg’s Neal Pionk. https://t.co/DDlM0Tdzw3
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 8, 2021

So here we are. Jason gets six games. No Spezza until the Leafs play the Kraken on December 19th. (The things people will do to avoid an Alberta road trip.) The suspension is certainly warranted as there is little doubt that Spezza deliberately targeted Pionk, and even if the intent wasn’t to injure, he certainly wanted to make him hurt for what Pionk did to Sandin. Of course the fact that Spezza is missing more time than Pionk got for the Sandin hit is an irony not lost on Leafs fans.
Having Spezza out of the lineup at the same …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The DFO Show: Spezza deserves a five-game suspension, but refs share the blame for Jets-Leafs melee

Jason Spezza is set to have an in-person (well, face-to-face over Zoom) meeting with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Tuesday for his retaliatory hit on Neal Pionk.

On Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Faceoff Show, Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna discussed the situation and how many games Spezza is likely going to be suspended for. Both agreed that he’ll get at least five games but Seravalli also made a point that this could have been avoided if the referees called the original knee by Pionk on Rasmus Sandin.
Seravalli: “We’re still dealing with the fallout from the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs clash on Sunday. Neal Pionk was suspensed for two games for kneeing to satrt of the entire melee, Wayne Simmonds got fined for cross-checking, and there’s a hearing today for Jason Spezza’s retaliatory knee on Pionk. What do you see in terms of a suspension from the Department of Player Safety?
McKenna: “It isn’t going to be less than five games. That’s what it comes down to. When you meet in person, these never wind up being less than five games.
Jason Spezza is a guy who …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #10 Jason Spezza

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #10 Jason Spezza

Father Time has no effect on Jason Spezza, team dad of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since joining the team in 2019, Spezza has carved out a place on this team as one of the best fourth-liners to ever put on the blue and white and has won over the hearts and minds of even the staunchest naysayers who swore they’d never support the longtime Senator.
It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that Spezza has become one of the most beloved members of this team. He has greatly outperformed his role in both seasons as a Leaf so far, and if the fountain of youth that powers his game holds up, he should easily do that again this upcoming season and in doing so, hit a career milestone.
Five Important Stats
Jason Spezza currently sits at 970 career points in the NHL, just 30 shy of the remarkable milestone of 1000, and folks, he is going to reach it.
In two shortened seasons (58 and 54 regular season games played respectively) as a Leaf, Spezza has scored a total of 55 points, his pace over a full 82-game season, (minus games he may sit out for rest purposes) projects to be in the range …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Jason Spezza is pure vintage after scoring 3 goals – Rate That Leafs Game

So, uh, yeah — Jason Spezza had a hat-trick against the Vancouver Canucks. There was no shy of brilliance in this game by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who put seven goals past Thatcher Demko. Auston Matthews had a pair, while Mitch Marner and John Tavares scored the others.
This was one of the best games for the Maple Leafs. Dominant from start to finish. Obviously there are a few tweaks here and there, but a solid performance (even though it was against a team that is struggling. Hard.) The unfortunate part from this game is that Travis Dermott left it and did not return.
Now though, we look forward (after you watch my YouTube video) on the next two games against — you guessed it — the Canucks. I hope you enjoy the video, and if you do, subscribe!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation