League slams decision to cut watson’s ban
the NHL is criticizing an arbitrator’s decision to reduce the suspension of Nashville Predators forward austin Watson, who pleaded no contest in July to a domestic assault charge.
Watson received a 27game suspension from NHL commissioner gary Bettman last month. the NHL and NHL Players’ association announced thursday that arbitrator Shyam das had reduced it to 18 games.
the NHL issued a statement Friday saying that “we are disappointed with the arbitrator’s decision.”
“We firmly believe that the right of appeal to an arbitrator of League discipline was never intended to substitute the arbitrator’s judgment for that of the commissioner, particularly on matters of important League policy and the articulation of acceptable standards of conduct for individuals involved in the National Hockey League,” the NHL said in its statement.
the NHL added that “we will not hesitate to adhere to and enforce — through firm discipline as necessary — the standards of personal conduct we feel are appropriate for our league.”
the NHL doesn’t have a written domestic violence policy and takes each situation on a case by case basis.
the NHLPA also released a statement Friday, saying: “the NHLPA takes domestic violence seriously and continues to work together with the NHL to ensure that players are educated on this important societal issue. ”as part of those efforts, the NHL/NHLPA conduct domestic violence awareness training at our rookie Orientation Program and during the season for all NHL players.
“the cba provides players with the right to appeal discipline imposed by the NHL for off-ice conduct to an impartial arbitrator. this essential right is intended to encourage the fair and consistent application of discipline. the arbitrator’s independence helps ensure that the process and decision are fair. that is a principle to which we should always strive to adhere, even in cases where the subject matter is as difficult as domestic violence.”
Watson, 26, has 23 goals and 24 assists in 216 career regular-season games, all with the Predators.
habs SWITCH THINGS up
It’s only three games into the season and Montreal canadiens coach Claude Julien already is juggling his lines.
the main reason is that Jonathan drouin still is looking for his first point after being moved from centre to wing this season and has only five shots on goal with a minus-1 while averaging 16:38 of ice time per game. drouin was also held without a point in the four preseason games he played while going minus-6.
drouin started the season playing left wing on a line with rookie centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel armia on the right wing, but Julien started juggling his lines during Montreal’s 3-0 loss to the Los angeles Kings on thursday. at practice Friday, drouin was on a line with Max domi at centre and artturi Lehkonen on right wing. Kotkaniemi now finds himself playing between Paul Byron and armia.
“I think we need to see production (from drouin),” Julien said after Friday’s practice. “I guess that’s obvious to everybody.”
haley leaves PANTHERS
Florida Panthers forward Micheal haley has entered the NHL/NHL Players’ association assistance program.
the NHL and union said Friday that Haley will be away from the team while taking part in the program.
“Michael is a valued part of our team and Panthers family,” dale Tallon, the Panthers’ president and general manager, said in a statement. “He has our full support as he takes the time he needs to tend to this matter.”
the 32-year-old Haley had three goals and six assists in 75 games last season for the Panthers. He has eight goals and 17 assists in 205 career NHL games.
Haley last played in the preseason finale Sept. 30.