Winnipeg Free Press - - SPORTS I HOCKEY -

NEW YORK — 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 27-game 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.”

Watson was charged in an in­ci­dent June 16 with his girl­friend. Watson told po­lice he and his girl­friend were ar­gu­ing and that he pushed her.

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