urs earlier, after the NHL begins its schedule break.

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In preserving Bruins forward Shawn Thorntons 15 game suspension on appeal, Commissioner Gary Bettman concluded that the attack on Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik was "a bad act with a bad result, and neither will be tolerated in our game. Chris Paul Clippers Jersey ." Bettman very clearly confirms that protecting the brains of players is of paramount importance, and decisive action will be taken to discourage excessive and unnecessary force that may result in irreversible brain damage. Thornton will now have seven days to appeal Bettmans decision to an independent arbitrator. This is brand new under the CBA and has never been done. So if we do see an appeal, we will break new ground (and/or ice). The Hearing: Who Was There? The hearing was held at the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. Thats the firm that acted for the NHL during the lockout. Very good law firm. Apart from Thornton appearing at the hearing, his agent Anton Thun, NHLPA representatives Roman Stoykewych, David Sinclair and Maria Dennis, and Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli were all in attendance. Thun and Chiarelli were called by the Union to testify. On the NHL side were members of the League office, including Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, David Zimmerman, Julie Grand and Brendan Shanahan (who was called to testify), as well as Joseph Baumgarten from Proskauer Rose. While Thornton has an agent, the NHLPA handles the hearing. The agent can help with arguments, but ultimately the Union is in charge of the appeal and does the talking. NHLPA: What They Argued The NHLPA did not dispute that a suspension was warranted, but rather argued that the suspension was too long. So the NHLPA focused on length and not whether a wrong was committed. In fact, at the hearing, the NHLPA and Thornton acknowledged that the act was "quite serious", "harmful", and resulted in "significant" injury. Bettman writes that the NHLPA was aiming for a suspension closer to 10 to 12 games. In doing so, the Union relied on the leagues past practice for similar incidents, Thorntons clean record and the act lacking premeditation. Overall, the NHLPA argued that the "punishment was excessive." Bettman Disagrees In preserving the length of the suspension, Bettman relied heavily on the intentional nature of the act together with its "highly dangerous nature" and the "extent of the injury." As per the NHL CBA, the league considers a number of factors when determining the length of a suspension, including the following: (1) the excessive and unnecessary nature of the act, (2) the injury sustained, (3) whether the player has a rap sheet or is a repeat offender, and (4) the circumstances of the game. The league can also consider any other relevant surrounding circumstances. Bettman ruled that Thornton engaged in intentionally excessive force. He skated the length of the ice, slew footed Orpik, dragged him to the ice from behind and punched him multiple times in the face. Orpik, Bettman writes, "never had a chance to fairly confront his opponent, much less an opportunity to defend himself." As well, Orpiks injury was also key in maintaining the suspension. Bettman noted that there was still no "definitive date for his return" and that there is "uncertainty as to his future condition." Bettman also ruled that the act constituted "retribution" for Orpik declining Thorntons invitation to fight after Orpiks hit on Louis Eriksson. For the Commissioner, that also supported upholding the suspension. The fact that Thornton had no prior history of suspensions was recognized by Bettman. Indeed, the Commissioner expressed that it was "certainly possible" to argue for a more "severe punishment." So it looks like Thorntons clean record may have resulted in a shorter suspension. Bettman also relied on one more key factor: the human brain. It is recognized that players may suffer irreversible brain damage as a result of blows to the head. Consequently, the league must take active and decisive steps to safeguard the brains of its players. That includes imposing punishments that are designed to strongly discourage behavior that threatens the long-term health of its players. The league would argue that failing to firmly discipline players puts all players at risk. Hockey is an inherently dangerous sport and that will never change. Still, contact that is not part of the game will be scrutinized. Indeed, the 200 plus NFL concussion lawsuits, the NHL class action concussion lawsuit and the Derek Boogaard lawsuit weighed heavily on the decision making process. The league simply cannot be seen as soft on brain damage with this mass of litigation gathering around sports. So the legal side of this case was inescapably important. Some have argued that the nature of Thorntons act just doesnt match up with past lengthy suspensions because Thornton used his glove to punish Orpik rather than his stick or skate. This type of argument is a red herring and ignores the bigger issue at play: its not how the harm is delivered but rather what harm is inflicted. Times have changed and penalties must be aligned with evolving sensibilities. Indeed, Bettman wrote in his Decision that a player "who today blatantly flouts the rules in a manner that causes a head injury can and should expect to be severely disciplined." Why So Long For Bettman Decision? Thorntons hearing was on December 20. So it took 4 days for the Commissioner to issue his decision. In part, a reason for the delay was that the NHL wanted to get the decision just right given the possibility the case could be appealed to an independent arbitrator. The NHL wanted to make sure, in part, that its reasons were well-reasoned, considered and thoughtful. So Whats The Takeway? The extent of the harm delivered together with the weight of the concussion lawsuits and evolving sensibilities conspired to preserve Thorntons suspension. Bettmans decision was not only predictable, but it was also prudent and ultimately correct. And for these reasons, and as I wrote here, Thorntons chances of success on appeal to an independent arbitrator are bleak. Blake Griffin Clippers Jersey . The 48th-ranked Williams made her first appearance in Dubai since she won her second straight title here in 2010. Shed missed the last three years either because of injury or Sjogrens Syndrome. Clippers Jersey . -- LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Trail Blazers lineup, happy to know that things didnt go awry without him. http://www.clippersnbateamshop.com/wesley-johnson-clippers-jersey/ . The Tournament of Champions, which starts Friday, is his first event since a freak accident in Shanghai two months ago. Snedeker was on a Segway scooter during a corporate outing at Sheshan International when he took a tumble and injured his left knee.Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild will be the captain of the U.S. mens hockey team at the Sochi Olympics. Minnesota defenceman Ryan Suter and centre Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings will be the alternate captains, U.S. general manager David Poile announced Friday. The 29-year-old Parise was an alternate captain at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago, scoring the goal that sent the gold-medal game into overtime. He has experience on U.S. national teams going back to 2002, and he welcomed the chance to take a leadership role in his second Olympics. "Its a special thing to be named captain of any team, but when its a national team, an Olympic team, its extra special," Parise said. "Weve got a lot of players who are great leaders. Im going to get a lot of help. Im going to need a lot of help. Its very humbling." U.S. coach Dan Bylsma said Parises work ethic and no-nonsense playing style are exemplary of the attitude he wants for his team. The Americans arent considered a gold-medal favourite, but a roster packed with NHL star power is expected to keep them in contention. "Were a team thats got a blue-collar mentality, and Zach embodies that," said Bylsma, also the coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Every time we play against Zach Parise, there has been a work ethic, a never-quit, a determination, an abrasiveness about a hard-to-play-against type of player. And its every time regardless of the score (or) the situationn our respective teams might be in. Brandon Bass Clippers Jersey. That is exactly how we want our team to play." Parises alternate captains have extensive leadership experience as well. Brown and Suter were both alternate captains to Jamie Langenbrunner on the U.S. team at the Vancouver Olympics. Brown is the longtime captain of the Kings and an international veteran, while Suter and Parise are both alternate captains of the Wild. Suters father, Bob, won a gold medal with the "Miracle on Ice" team in 1980. "Theres plenty of guys that wear letters with their own teams, so I dont think our team is going to be lacking in leadership at all," Parise said. "There are plenty of guys that are capable of doing that." The American team will hold its first practice in Sochi late on Feb. 10. Most players wont arrive until a few hours earlier, after the NHL begins its schedule break. Parise acknowledged the unique challenges of the Sochi Olympics, including the players adjustment to a hefty time change in just a few days before their first game against Slovakia on Feb. 13. He also recognized security concerns around the Olympics, calling it "unfortunate" that security "has dominated a lot of the conversation." "You have to put your trust in the Russian police and the security were sending over there as well," Parise said. "Were going to be in good hands. We can just relax, focus and concentrate on playing hockey." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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