Attorney Robert Cleary, who appeared at a press conference with Bettman, conducted an independent investigation of Tocchet for the League and found no gambling on hockey within that ring. Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail has his own thoughts on what that means:
The league ultimately needed to decide if they would reinstate Tocchet on the grounds that he was mostly guilty of stupidity and poor judgment. Or if they would extend his ban from the game on the grounds that even a peripheral association with gambling - involving sports other than hockey - could call into question the integrity of the league.
"The bottom line is, if you're fortunate enough to work in the National Hockey League, you are necessarily held to a higher standard of personal conduct than in many other professions," said Bettman.
"Moreover, during his 21 months away from the game, Mr. Tocchet did not strictly adhere to the terms of our understanding - that he have no contact with NHL league or club personnel.But, in the end, the NHL decided it was time to welcome back Tocchet to Wayne Gretzky's right hand. Bettman said that those looking for an admitted gambling ring leader to be banned from the NHL for longer "are not familiar with all the facts and are still focused on the original headlines."
"In addition, and almost unbelievably, Mr. Tocchet has continued to gamble during his leave of absence, although not as frequently or in the same manner that resulted in the problems he incurred with law enforcement."
Since Tocchet seems so fond of running numbers, here are a few to run through the heads of hockey fans going forward:
- Suspension for Pleading Guilty To Conspiracy to Promote Gambling and Promoting Gambling on Sports: 162 games (by Feb. 7, 2008).
- Suspension for Ending Steve Moore's Career With a Punch To the Head: 20 games (including playoffs), the World Cup of Hockey, two world championships and a locked-out season.
- Suspension for Taking a Baseball Swing at Ryan Hollweg's Face: 30 games (including playoffs).
- Suspension for Telling a Portly Referee To Have Another Donut During the Stanley Cup Playoffs: 1 postseason game.
- Suspension for Being a Goal-Scoring Superstar and Checking Daniel Briere in the Back Behind The Play: Priceless.
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