DI­GEST NHL crit­i­cizes re­duc­tion of Wat­son’s sus­pen­sion

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTS -

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.”

“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 “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 do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pol­icy. It takes each sit­u­a­tion case by case.

Wat­son was ar­rested June 16 af­ter a wit­ness flagged down a po­lice of­fi­cer to a gas sta­tion in Franklin, Tenn. Wat­son told po­lice he and his girl­friend were ar­gu­ing and that he pushed her. Of­fi­cers said they found red marks on her chest, and she said Wat­son caused them. Wat­son pleaded no con­test to do­mes­tic as­sault on July 24. Golf: Gary Wood­land shot an 11-un­der-par 61 to tie the course record and join Marc Leish­man in a share of the sec­ond-round lead at the PGA Tour’s CIMB Clas­sic in Malaysia. Wood­land and Leish­man (62) were at 14un­der 130 on the re­vamped TPC Kuala Lumpur West course. Shub­hankar Sharma (64) and Paul Casey (65) were tied for third, one stroke be­hind. Both golfers had stretches of four birdies and an ea­gle in five holes.

No. 1-ranked Sung Hyun Park and No. 2 Ariya Ju­tanu­garn were among four shar­ing the lead af­ter two rounds of the KEB Hana Bank Cham­pi­onship in In­cheon, South Korea. Park shot a sec­ond straight 4-un­der 68 and Ju­tanu­garn was bet­ter with a 67 for two-round to­tals of 8-un­der 136 at the Sky 72 Ocean Course.

Bern­hard Langer birdied nine of the last 10 holes at rain-soft­ened Pre­ston­wood for a 10un­der 62 and share of lead in the PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons’ SAS Cham­pi­onship at Cary, N.C. Tom Lehman and Gene Sauers matched the 61-year-old Langer. Ten­nis: De­fend­ing cham­pion Roger Fed­erer served 10 aces and ad­vanced to the semi­fi­nals of the Shang­hai Mas­ters with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over eighth­seeded Kei Nishikori. Fed­erer next will face 13th-seeded Borna Coric, who de­feated Matthew Eb­den 7-5, 6-4. Fourth-seeded Alexan­der Zverev, a 6-4, 6-4 quar­ter­fi­nal win­ner over Kyle Ed­mund, will face sec­ond­seeded No­vak Djokovic, who topped sev­enth-seeded Kevin An­der­son 7-6 (1), 6-3.

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