Jason Spezza’s suspension reduced to 4 games by Gary Bettman | CBC Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza had his six-game suspension reduced to four games by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday.

Spezza was suspended on Dec. 7, two days after kneeing Winnipeg Jets defenceman Neal Pionk in Toronto’s 6-3 loss. He already has sat out four games and is eligible to return for the Maple Leafs on Saturday when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.

The discipline came following an in-person hearing (over Zoom) for Spezza following a spate of incidents in the Maple Leafs-Jets game. Pionk received a two-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Maple Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin during the third period of that game.

Less than two minutes after that hit, Pionk — who had lost his stick — dove to the ice to make a play for the puck. Spezza skated over and lowered his left knee to make forceful contact with the side of Pionk’s head.

WATCH | Spezza suspended for kneeing Pionk:

Spezza, Pionk receive suspensions after incidents during Jets/Leafs game

Leafs centre Jason Spezza suspended six games for kneeing Winnipeg defenceman Neal Pionk in the head. Pionk is suspended two games for a knee-on-knee hit on Toronto blue-liner Rasmus Sandin. 1:07

Spezza, 38, has recorded 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 26 games this season.

He has 981 points (358 goals, 623 assists) in 1,203 career games with the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars and Maple Leafs. He was selected by the Senators with the second overall of the 2001 NHL Draft.

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