Senators' Pinto returns to ice after 41-game suspension for gambling

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto returned to the ice on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers after sitting out the first 41 games because of a suspension from the NHL for “activities related to sports wagering.”

Pinto, 23, had 20 goals and 15 assists in 82 games for the Senators last season. The league’s investigation found no evidence that Pinto bet on NHL games and provided few details, and Pinto has not disclosed specifics in recent interviews.

Pinto was the second center on the ice on Sunday, getting his first shift early in the first period against the Flyers.

The Senators, who have struggled to last place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points, were looking forward to having Pinto back in the lineup.

“He’ll bring a lot of energy,” Senators interim coach Jacques Martin said prior to Sunday's game. “But he’s got to keep the game simple and try to adjust on the fly to the pace of the game.”

Pinto apologized in October when the suspension was announced.

“I want to apologize to the National Hockey League, the Ottawa Senators, my teammates, the fans and city of Ottawa and most importantly my family,” Pinto said in a statement released by the team. “I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.”