A group of over 100 former NHL players continue to pursue legal action against the NHL, claiming “long-term neurological problems stemming from concussions that they sustained while playing for the [NHL].” As part of their proceedings, they’ve petitioned a US federal court to obtain documents from the National Hockey League related to head injuries.
TSN has received copies of those documents, which include emails from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHL VP Colin Campbell, Bob McKenzie, Brian Burke, and others. Many have been redacted – some in their entirety.
One exchange, dating back to March 2011, between Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly centered around recently-retired referee Kerry Fraser.
Fraser had, according to TSN, ‘sent out a mass email’ about a play where New York Rangers’ forward Derek Stepan hit Washington Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green with an elbow to the head. Stepan was not penalized on the play, but was later fined by the league. Fraser questioned the hit, arguing that a suspension may be a more appropriate punishment.
“This campaign [against head shots], his book [Last Call] – somewhat delusional,” writes Bettman, following a section that has been redacted.
“[Fraser’s] not the only person who thinks we should be penalizing head shots more severely than we do,” wrote Daly.
“That’s not the issue,” replied Bettman. “His disparaging campaign is.”
Here’s the play in question:
Green missed the remainder of the regular season.