NEW YORK NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has cut Daniel Carcillo's suspension from 10 games to six, meaning the New York Rangers enforcer could play in the Stanley Cup finals should the club elect to return him to the lineup.
The commissioner made the change Tuesday after holding a hearing with Carcillo on Friday.
Carcillo was suspended on May 23 after he appeared to twice elbow linesman Scott Driscoll, who was trying to keep Carcillo away from a fight, during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The original ban would have kept him completely out of the Cup finals, even if the series goes the full seven games.
Now Carcillo, who has already served three games, is eligible to play in Game 4.
Carcillo was originally punished under Rule 40.3 for deliberately applying physical force to an official, which carries a suspension of at least 10 games. However, Bettman decided that "Carcillo's actions were more appropriately deemed a violation of Rule 40.4 for deliberately applying physical force to an official for the sole purpose of getting free of such official during or immediately following an altercation.
"The National Hockey League does not and will not, under any circumstances, tolerate or condone the abuse, physical or otherwise, of our on-ice officials," Bettman said in a statement. "The strict and proper enforcement of Rule 40, therefore, plays a critical role in safeguarding the integrity of the game by maintaining a safe and respectful working environment for our officials."
The Stanley Cup finals begin Wednesday with the Rangers visiting the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Kings.