NHL News & Notes: Watson Suspended, Robitaille & More

In today’s News & Notes, Austin Watson has been suspended as part of the NHL’s Substance Abuse Program, Luc Robitaille penned a letter to season ticket holders of the Los Angeles Kings and Kendall Coyne Schofield will be making her broadcasting debut Wednesday.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Muzzin, Martinook & More

Watson Enters Stage Two of NHL Substance Program

The NHL and NHLPA released a statement Tuesday stating that Watson would be entering Stage Two of the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. As a result of this, Watson would be suspended without pay until he’s cleared for on-ice competition by program administrators.

Watson released a statement through his Instagram earlier this month to outline his history with alcoholism, anxiety and depression that date back to when he was 18 years old.

This is the second time this season that Watson will be suspended as he was suspended for 18 games to start this season, reduced from the original 27 games he was due to serve, as part of the NHL’s domestic abuse policy.

Nashville Predators Austin Watson
Nashville Predators left wing Austin Watson (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The 27-year-old has scored seven goals and 13 points in 34 games this season.

The Predators released a statement on the matter:

“We are grateful for the NHL and NHLPA’s program and will co-operate in any way necessary as we continue to support Austin and his family as they go through this difficult time.

“Because of the personal nature of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and our exclusive focus on Austin and his family’s well-being, there will be no further comment on this matter.”

Robitaille Pens Letter to Kings

With the Kings’ season all but finished after what was expected to be a season spent competing for a playoff spot and potentially a Stanley Cup, Robitaille, the President of the organization, penned a letter to season-ticket holders to outline their intentions for the future.

Rob Blake
Rob Blake – Los Angeles Kings (Getty Images)

This was the same course of action that the New York Rangers took a season ago when they penned a letter to their fanbase about their intentions of building towards a future.

The letter comes just a few days removed from the Kings trading away one of their best defenders in Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for future assets. It was published by LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen.

The letter reads as follows:

We entered this season with high expectations, however our results have been absolutely unacceptable.

Today we began a difficult but necessary step for our franchise. As we move forward, we will continue to relentlessly pursue and develop talent to become a team that is capable of winning in today’s NHL.

We are deeply grateful to all of the players and coaches that have helped us achieve our goals to date. We will never forget, or minimize, their tremendous contributions during what has been the most successful era in LA Kings history.

Moving forward, we will diligently and tirelessly work to execute our vision. Our goal is to deliver a performance worthy of your amazing support and loyalty — and most of all, bring the Stanley Cup back to Los Angeles.


Luc Robitaille

Kendall Coyne Schofield to Make Broadcast Debut on NBCSN

Just days after taking part in the NHL’s Fastest Skater Competition at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, USA hockey star Kendall Coyne Schofield will be joining NBCSN as she makes her broadcasting debut on Wednesday Night Hockey between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Coyne Schofield will work the pre-game coverage on “NHL Live” before working both in the booth with John Forslund and Eddie Olczyk and “Inside the Glass” with Pierre McGuire.

Kendall Coyne-Schofield
USA women’s ice hockey player Kendall Coyne-Schofield in the fastest skater competition in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game skills competition. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

“It’s a huge transition but I’m looking at it in the same regard as I just want to be myself, showcase my personality and prove to the world that women can talk sports, women can talk hockey and we know the game as well as the men,” Coyne Schofield said.

“I’m sure there will be nerves. But like I’ve been saying to everybody the last few days, I think a little bit of nerves are a good thing because it means you care. You just don’t want the nerves to take over a moment. I’m super excited for the experience. I’m excited to learn in between the glass with Pierre and go up in the booth with John and Eddie, and just experience them at their best.”

Coyne Schofield currently plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps of the NWHL but has also starred at the international level representing Team USA and collegiately at Northeastern University, including two seasons as the captain of the team in 2014-15 and 2015-16.