Suspension reduction criticized
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.