Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette will appeal his 10-game suspension for an illegal line change during an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night, according to Sarah McLellan of AZCentral.com.
Bissonnette left the Phoenix bench before another Coyotes player returned to it so that he could engage in a scrum involving Kings forward Jordan Nolan. The involvement of Nolan is a key component to the situation, as the Kings forward had administered a controversial hit on Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla, which resulted in Klesla being removed from the game via stretcher.
Nolan was not penalized or disciplined for the hit. Regardless, the Coyotes were not pleased with the incident and the scrum ensued on Nolan's next shift.
In terms of Bissonnette's appeal, it's hard to see how he can argue that he didn't make an illegal line change. Under the league's rules such an occurrence automatically results in a mandatory 10-game suspension. Per the rules in the collective bargaining agreement, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will hear the appeal and make the decision. If Bissonnette is not pleased with the decision, he can appeal to a neutral arbitrator, because his suspension is in excess of six games.
If upheld, Bissonnette will begin serving his suspension in the regular season. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 24 when the Coyotes face the Kings (which always seems to happen in these fight-related suspensions).