Jakub Voracek has played 834 games in the NHL, but Saturday was a first for the Flyers’ star forward: The Department of Player Safety issued a two-game suspension for a hit that Voracek delivered on Johnny Boychuk.
The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Voracek, disputing the decision of George Parros, the head of the Department of Player Safety. The decision of the appeal will impact both the number of games Voracek will miss and how much money he will have to forfeit as a result.
Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, will review the decision and determine if there is “clear and convincing evidence” to support the conclusion of Parros.
Last season, Parros made it clear that he was focused on removing non-hockey hits from the game, issuing more suspensions in the 2017-18 playoffs than in either of the last two postseasons. (For more on the suspensions issued last season, check out my article “Why Suspensions Are On The Rise In The NHL Playoffs.”)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]As the playoff races start to heat up, Parros is again making it clear that non-hockey hits are not acceptable in the NHL. Two players, Voracek and Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabers, received supplemental discipline for hits to the head on March 9.
The NHLPA has taken up his cause and appealed the decision to the NHL. Under the NHL-NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement’s Section 18, the appeal of a decision for a suspension of fewer than five games goes to the commissioner of the league.
The appeal by the NHLPA could reduce the suspension and allow Voracek to play in the Flyers’ game on Thursday against the Washington Capitals but could also save Voracek approximately $44,000.00 to $88,709.68 in salary.
Under the CBA, the amount of money that is forfeited by a first-time offender is calculated by taking the number of games suspended and dividing that by the days in the league year (186 days in the 2018-19 season).
In Voracek’s case, he was suspended for two games and therefore will be forced to forfeit 2/186 of his annual salary. According to CapFriendly.com, Voracek’s salary for the 2018-19 season is $8,250,000. Thus, if the suspension is upheld, Voracek will forfeit approximately $88,709.00. However, this number drops to roughly $44,000 if the suspension is reduced to one game.
Voracek may also have bonuses on the line that are only earned if the Flyers make the playoffs. Currently, Philadelphia is in a tight playoff race, and having a top player out of the lineup for two games could be the difference between making the postseason or hitting the golf course.
Bettman will review the evidence around the hit in question and determine if the league’s finding is supported by “clear and convincing evidence.”
In this case, it is clear the Voracek interfered with Boychuk, but the real question will be if the hit rises to the level of a two-game suspension. Bettman’s decision could have a dramatic impact on both the Flyers’ playoff future and Voracek’s bank account.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]