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Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has been suspended indefinitely due to ongoing issues with alcohol abuse, the NHL and NHL Players' Association jointly announced Tuesday. Watson, who recently admitted to suffering from anxiety and depression, was charged with assaulting his girlfriend in June, but in October she denied he had ever hit her.
Watson was admitted into Stage 2 of the NHL's substance abuse and behavioral health program, according to the two entities. They said the suspension was 'related exclusively' to the alcohol issues.
Watson - Suspension - Season - Games - Contest
This is Watson's second suspension of the season. He missed the first 18 games after pleading no contest to a domestic assault charge in July. Watson was initially suspended for 27 games by the NHL, but an arbitrator reduced it to 18.
Watson, 27, received probation for the June 16 incident in which officers found him and girlfriend Jenn Guardino in a parked car near a gas station in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville.
Watson - Guardino - Argument - Officers - Marks
The 6foot4 Watson acknowledged pushing Guardino during an argument. When officers noticed red marks on her chest, Guardino said Watson caused them, and he was arrested.
In October, Guardino took the blame for the incident, saying in her statement, 'Austin Watson has never, and would never hit or abuse me. My behavior and state of intoxication led to the police being involved that day.'
Instagram - Post - Weeks - Watson - Battles
In an Instagram post two weeks ago, Watson acknowledged personal battles with alcoholism, depression and anxiety, saying he had been sober for nearly two years before drinking again in May of 2017.
'I have dealt with anxiety, depression and Alchoholism since the age of 18,' Watson wrote. 'I maintained sobriety for 23 months until the middle of May, 2018, when I began drinking. After the events on June 16th, I voluntarily entered the NHL SABH Program, and I am currently...
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