NHL ‘disappointed’ with cut to Watson’s suspension for domestic abuse

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.”

Watson was charged in an incident June 16 with his girlfriend in Franklin, Tenn. 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 misdemeanor charge dismissed by fulfilling terms of his diversion program.