The NHL reduced New York Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo’s ban for hitting an official from 10 games to six on Tuesday, making him eligible to play in the Stanley Cup finals.
Carcillo was suspended for hitting linesman Scott Driscoll in the face with his elbow during a scuffle in game three of the Eastern Conference finals against Montreal.
He was given an automatic game misconduct and the league suspended him under its rule banning the use of deliberate physical force against an official.
After hearing Carcillo’s appeal, the NHL decided he more closely violated a different rule, which bans “physical force to an official for the sole purpose of getting free of such official during or immediately following an altercation.”
Driscoll was holding on to Carcillo’s jersey with both hands.
Although the league reduced the ban, in a statement it said it will not tolerate abuse of on-ice officials.
The Rangers beat the Canadiens in six games to reach the Cup Finals for the first time since they won the title in 1994.
The Kings will host game one on Wednesday. Carcillo has served three games of the suspension already and will be eligible to return for game four of the best-of-seven championship series on June 11 in New York.