Sus­pen­sion re­duc­tion crit­i­cized

The Mercury News - - 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. FLORIDA’S HA­LEY EN­TERS AS­SIS­TANCE PRO­GRAM >> Florida cen­ter Micheal Ha­ley will be away from the team in­def­i­nitely while tak­ing part in the NHL and NHL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’s player as­sis­tance pro­gram for undis­closed rea­sons.

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