NHL takes exception to reduced suspension
The NHL is “disappointed” about 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 arbitrator Shyam Das had reduced it to 18 games. “We firmly believe 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. Watson was charged in an incident June 16 with his girlfriend in Tennessee. Watson told police he and his girlfriend were arguing and that he pushed her. Officers said they found red marks on her chest. Watson can have the misdemeanour charge dismissed by fulfilling terms of his diversion program.