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Jason Spezza’s 6-Game Suspension Reduced by Bettman

Jason Spezza’s six-game suspension has been reduced to four games and he will be eligible to play against Vancouver on Saturday.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has reduced Jason Spezza’s suspension from six to four games, according to multiple sources. A number of factors have gone into the decision, among them, the fact Neal Pionk only missed three games from the injury is a big part of it. Spezza is now eligible to play in Vancouver tomorrow.

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Bettman talked about his decision and explained, “My decision to reduce the length of the suspension is based primarily on an undisputed fact: Mr. Spezza’s admirable record of clean play over a 19 season, 1,300 game career, which is an important factor that is expressly emphasized in Section 18.2(c) of the CBA. I note that this record supports Mr. Spezza’s reputation for clean play and has never received a warning or counseling from DPS about conduct coming close to the line and leads me to give Mr. Spezza the benefit of the doubt in terms of his intention.”

This was a big point of contention for a number of people who saw the suspension as harsh. Most everyone agreed it was a bad hit to make and kneeing a prone player was not a wise choice, but the team was furious over the six-game suspension because of who Spezza is and how the game had gotten so badly out of hand leading up to the play in question.

It will be interesting to see if this sets a new precedent for the league re-examining the NHL DoPS’ decisions as a huge point of contention among fans, players and media is that there is no consistency when it comes to the rulings coming out of that department.

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