NEW YORK, N.Y. - Paul Bissonnette's suspension for leaving the bench to enter an altercation was reduced from 10 regular-season games to three because of a lack of sufficient video evidence, the NHL announced.
The Phoenix Coyotes enforcer was given an automatic 10-game suspension for going after Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan after his hit on Rostislav Klesla in their pre-season game Sept. 15.
Bissonnette contended that he replaced Coyotes prospect Max Domi on the ice, and because it was a pre-season game there wasn't video that showed that was inaccurate. No on-ice officials could definitively say otherwise, according to the league.
"Given the totality of these circumstances, including the lack of conclusive video evidence, and Bissonnette's credible assertions regarding the intended legality of his substitution for Domi at the time, the league has decided not to apply the 10-game automatic suspension to Bissonnette," the NHL said in a press release announcing the change.
The NHLPA had filed an appeal on Bissonnette's behalf, but that was withdrawn after the league decided to reduce the suspension.
Bissonnette did not have the ban wiped out entirely because the NHL said he "must bear some responsibility" for sparking a fight.
The 28-year-old tough guy will now forfeit US$11,346.15 instead of $37,820.51.
Bissonnette thanked fans and the Coyotes organization in a series of Twitter posts Saturday night.
"As much as I'm looked at as a 'plug', 'grocery stick', 'duster', it doesn't take away from the amount of respect I have for the game," he tweeted. "Grateful for the time the NHL took to review my case and saw what my intentions were."
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