In what is certainly great news for the Leafs, Jason Spezza’s appeal to Gary Bettman on his suspension length was somewhat successful and he is now eligible to return to the lineup for tomorrow night’s game.
Commissioner Bettman upholds suspension of @MapleLeafs forward Jason Spezza; reduces length from six to four games.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 17, 2021
While the idea of an aggressive knee targeting an opponent’s head is certainly something that you’d hope to see warrant a penalty like six games or possibly beyond, the Spezza suspension certainly seemed inconsistent with the recent suspensions and fines handed down by NHL Player Safety and the reduction in the suspension seemed warranted.
With Spezza returning the Leafs get a bit more offensive firepower back, which is certainly a good thing at a time when Mitch Marner is out of the lineup. The Leafs will also have Nick Ritchie available again, so it likely pushes Clifford out of the lineup, at least temporarily.
The Leafs play the red hot Canucks (wait…what?) tomorrow night, and the Kraken the following night, so warm bodies are a definite plus.