The NHL announced today that Austin Watson’s 27 game suspension has been reduced to 18 games. This due to a ruling by an arbiter after the suspension was appealed by the NHLPA.

Here’s the full statement by the NHL:

The National Hockey League Players’ Association and National Hockey League announced today that Nashville Predators’ forward Austin Watson’s 27-game suspension issued pursuant to Article 18-A of the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reduced by Arbitrator Shyam Das to a suspension covering the first 18 games of the 2018-19 regular season.

The Nashville Predators responded with a statement of their own:

Our organization was not involved in the appeal of Austin Watson’s 27-game suspension, but we are aware of its reduction to 18 games. As previously stated, our focus has and will continue to be the healthy and well-being of Austin and his family. 

The appeal of the original is basically automatic, but this reduction is a bit surprising. Given the nature of the reason for suspension and given the league’s history in dealing with domestic assault issues, most expected the original suspension to be upheld.

With the reduction, Austin Watson can now return on November 15th at Arizona.

— Featured image via Associated Press —

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