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NHL reduces suspension of Paul Bissonnette to three games

The NHL announced Saturday that Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette will only be suspended for the first three games of the regular season, rather than the first 10, as originally ruled.

Bissonnette was suspended for leaving the team’s bench during an altercation in a preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 15.

In a press release, the league said there was not sufficient video evidence of Bissonnette leaving the bench to either join the fight or to substitute for another player. The sixth-year veteran appealed his suspension and said he was coming in the game to replace forward Max Domi — an assertion supported by Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.

Since it couldn’t be verified either way what his intentions were, the league made a rare exception in not suspending the Coyotes forward for the automatic 10 games normally applied to such a situation.

Bissonnette will be eligible to play his first game of the regular season on Oct. 10 against the Detroit Red Wings.

The league said he and the NHLPA have agreed to withdraw their appeal, and that the matter is now resolved. The 28 year old will forfeit more than $11,000 of his salary for the three missed games, due to the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.