Chris Pronger hired by Department of Player Safety.


Jun 30, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman

Chris Pronger

(right) shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

So Stephane Quintal has chosen to bring serial offender and defenseman Chris Pronger on board as a member of the Department of Player Safety. Chris Pronger is still a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, and has been on the their long-term injured reserve list since November 2011. According to, Pronger’s contract brings a $4.9 million dollar cap hit against the Flyers until the end of the 2016-17 season. Currently, the Flyers (factoring the addition of  the $2 million dollar contract of Kimmo Timonen to LTIR) are under the cap by $2,055,000.

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It’s a bad idea, and it’s a bad idea on multiple levels. First, let’s argue the letter of the law (in the NHL’s case, the most recent collective bargaining agreement). Article twenty-six of the CBA states that a player cannot be paid by anyone other than his team, to do anything but play, while he is under a contract. (By that definition, the Boston Bruins are also in hot water for having Marc Savard working as a scout in the minors.) Second, Pronger has been suspended eight times in the past by the league. Hiring the fox the patrol the henhouse should certainly cause some issues.

“I’ve talked to a number of teams and you got a varied reaction. I’ve got some teams that are absolutely horrified that this is happening, and other teams that think ‘y’know, what, Chris Pronger is exactly what they need in this department,’ and they aren’t too concerned about the potential conflict.” – TSN’s Bob McKenzie

There is certainly some bad blood between certain organizations when it comes to Pronger, and this irresponsible choice will certainly come back to haunt the DoPS.  (It has been stated ad nauseum that he will not be ruling on any issues involving the Flyers.) Gary Bettman doesn’t see this as a problem (that in itself should be a problem) and he’s happy to see Pronger working for the DoPS. (It’s not like Bettman ever had an Ahab-like obsession about hockey in the desert…oh wait.)

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  • Finally, Pronger’s hiring only further damages the reputation of the Department of Player Safety. Brendan Shanahan (who was by no means squeaky clean during his NHL career) worked hard to bring a certain level of consistent integrity to the Department. Sure, some of us didn’t like some of his calls, but most of us never openly called out the DoPS as a joke organization.  With Pronger on board, there will now be that patina of sleeze attached to Player Safety. It will certainly add a certain level of spice to the next NHL/NHLPA meeting when they hammer out the next CBA in a few years.

    I guess this means we all know what Matt Cooke will be doing after he’s done ruining the careers and lives of his co-workers.