Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson has been suspended two games by the National Department of Player Safety Sunday after being called for a two-minute minor for interference on Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Jack Ahcan in the Bruins’ 2-0 win Saturday.
Ottawa’s Austin Watson has been suspended for two games for Interference on Boston’s Jack Ahcan. https://t.co/ifTaugLB4q
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) February 13, 2022
Here’s the official statement from the Department of Player Safety:
Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson has been suspended for two games, without pay, for interference against Boston Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan during NHL Game No. 543 in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 12, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 8:07 of the first period. Watson was assessed a minor penalty for interference.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Watson will forfeit $15,000.00. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Watson drilled Ahcan with a late hit to the head after the Boston Bruins defenseman had cleared the puck out from the corner 8:09 into regulation. Surprisingly Watson only got slapped with an interference minor despite the play resulting in a headshot. Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh immediately came to the defense of his teammate and received a two-minute minor for roughing. While referees Kyle Reaman and Gord Dwyer appeared to miss the primary contact to Achan’s head, the Department of Player Safety appears to have seen that or something more than an interference infraction.
Forget the fact that refs Kyle Reaman and Gord Dwyer should be suspended for failing to call a major on Austin Watson, if Watson doesn't get a suspension for that targeted headshot, the @NHLPlayerSafety should reevaluate what the point of their job is. https://t.co/JzOl9uBXs1
— MurphysLaw74 (@MurphysLaw74) February 12, 2022
Thankfully for Ahcan and the Boston Bruins, the rookie defenseman was able to return to the game and played 15:15 in the win that snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bruins.
Watson ended up playing 11:48 with one shot and five hits. The Senators winger has been suspended 27 games before but not for any on-ice incidents. The rugged Senators winger was suspended for the first 27 games of the 2018-19 season by the NHL due to “unacceptable off-ice conduct” stemming from a domestic assault incident. Watson also was suspended in January 2019 for alcohol abuse and was placed into the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse and behavioral health program.