The appeal has been successful for Jason Spezza of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as his six-game suspension has been reduced to four. This was a decision made by commissioner Gary Bettman; had he maintained the full suspension, Spezza could have then appealed to a neutral arbitrator. With the reduction, Spezza is now eligible to play against Vancouver tomorrow night.
In the full nine-page ruling, Bettman include that though it was a clearly suspendable play, Spezza has an:
…admirable record of clean play over a nineteen season, 1,300 game career…this record support’s Mr. Spezza’s reputation for clean play and that he has never received a warning or counseling from [the Department of Player Safety] about conduct coming close to the line; and leads me to give Mr. Spezza the benefit of the doubt in terms of his intention.
The suspension has been upheld, meaning that it will go on Spezza’s record moving forward and be considered in any other supplementary discipline. Neal Pionk, the player involved, did suffer an injury on the play but missed just three games. Spezza can re-enter the Maple Leafs’ lineup immediately.