According to a report from Emily Kaplan of ESPN, the NHL has concluded its investigation of Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson with regards to his domestic assault charge from earlier this offseason.
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Some NHL news: Bill Daly tells me the league’s investigation into Nashville’s Austin Watson is complete, and an announcement on discipline should come before the Preds open training camp.
In case you missed the news, the 26 year old Watson was arrested on June 20th after allegedly getting into a roadside altercation with his girlfriend. Franklin Police Lt. Charles Warner made the announcement that Watson had been arrested and then subsequently released on $4,500 bond.
The officer was called to the scene by a witness who reportedly saw Watson’s girlfriend “trying to back away from being shoved away.” The woman repeatedly said “stop” and was trying to cover her face from witnesses. Watson told the officer that he and his girlfriend were having an argument and he admitted to pushing her. The officer found red marks on the women’s chest.
After the news became public the Predators said in a statement they “are still gathering facts and it’s not appropriate for us to comment further at this time.” Team officials noted “this is a matter that we are taking very seriously and we will cooperate fully with the investigation by law enforcement.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement that the league is aware of the situation and “it will be dealt with in due course and prior to next season.” Daly added “our focus currently is on the well-being and safety of Austin’s girlfriend, their child and Austin himself. “
It appears now, according to Kaplan’s report, that the league’s investigation is now complete. The only left to follow is the verdict. Will Watson miss playing time because of his crime? While it may not compare to the horrific assault conducted by former NHL defenseman Slava Voynov on his wife, how the NHL deals with the fall out from Watson’s assault charge will speak volumes about its stance on domestic assault. Meanwhile, the Preds are set to open up training camp later this month and would surely love to put such a huge distraction behind themselves.