Watson will not be able to rejoin the team until early December.

By Emily Caron
September 12, 2018

Nashville Predators left wing Austin Watson has been suspended by the NHL for the first 27 games of the 2018-19 season following the league's investigation into Watson's no contest plea to a domestic assault charge in July.

Watson's punishment comes without pay and means he will miss the Predators preseason. Watson will be eligible to rejoin the team on Dec. 3 against Buffalo.

"I have determined that Nashville player Austin Watson engaged in a physical confrontation with his domestic partner," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement on the suspension, per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. "Today's ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL's strongly held view that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct."

Watson's charges stemmed from a June arrest after he allegedly pushed his girlfriend outside of a Shell station in Franklin, Tenn. The 26-year-old was sentenced to three months' probation that includes an inpatient program for alcohol and substance abuse and 26 weeks of batterer intervention. 

Watson was one of three players on the Predators to participate in an anti-domestic violence video for the YWCA. The video was pulled from the organization's site following his arrest.

The NHL Players' Association will file an appeal on behalf of Watson, per Johnston.

The Predators begin training camp on Thursday.

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