NHL News: Spezza Suspension Reduced, and Paul Maurice Resigns
Gary Bettman reduced Toronto Maple Leafs Jason Spezza's suspension to four games. Paul Maurice resigns as the Winnipeg Jets head coach.
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Spezza’s suspension reduced

NHL Public Relations: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reduced the suspension from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza from six games to four.

“National Hockey Commissioner Gary Bettman today upheld the suspension that was assessed to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza for kneeing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk during NHL Game No. 380 in Winnipeg on Dec. 5. However, the Commissioner reduced the length of the suspension from six to four games.

Commissioner Bettman heard Spezza’s appeal of the original decision, assessed Dec. 7, at a hearing on Dec. 14.

Spezza now is eligible to return for the Maple Leafs’ next, scheduled for Dec. 18 (at VAN).”

The nine page ruling can be read in full here.

“Applying the factors set forth in Section 18.2 of the CBA, I find that a four (4) game
suspension is appropriate here. My conclusion accords with the findings of DPS that Mr. Spezza committed a serious and reckless infraction of Rule 50 that resulted in an injury to Mr. Pionk (albeit an injury that turned out to be less serious than it might have been). 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 nineteen (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 that he 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. ”

Paul Maurice resigns as Jets head coach

NHL.com: Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice resigned today. Assistant coach Dave Lowry will take over head coaching duties on an interim basis for the rest of the season.

“They need a new voice,” Maurice said. “They need somebody to help them get to that next place. … It’s the right time for it, and I know that.

“I’m so attached to this group, and I know they need something new.”

Elliotte Friedman: Maurice: “this is a good team, I’m a good coach…but sometimes you can only push so far. Sometimes a team needs a new voice. They haven’t quit on me, but need a different voice. It’s the right time for it, and I know that.”