Shane Pinto Return: How Other Athletes Fared After Long Suspensions

Shane Pinto Return: How Other Athletes Fared After Long Suspensions
By Jim Tomlin
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Ottawa Senators played the first half of their season without Shane Pinto, the forward who was suspended for 41 games by the NHL for unspecified gambling-related reasons.

Pinto, 23, played all 82 games last season for the Senators, who are last in the Eastern Conference and a major Ontario sports betting longshot to even reach the playoffs. On Sunday, in a 5-3 victory against the Flyers in Philadelphia, Pinto had one assist, two hits, two shots and a plus-2 rating in 14:33 of ice time, pretty impressive numbers for his first game this season.

“A long time coming,” Pinto said, according to “Just glad we got the two points, and it’s just good to be back. Got my first game over with and now, I can just focus on hockey.”

Pinto was suspended in late October, though the league said that an investigation “found no evidence” he had bet on hockey. We wondered: How do other athletes come back after serving long suspensions?, your home for Ontario sportsbook apps information, looked into history to find out. We ordered this list by league: NHL, then MLB, NFL and NBA, with some less notable names excluded.

Notable Long Suspensions And What Happened Next

Player, league Length Season(s) What They Did After
Billy Coutu, NHL Indefinite 1926-27 Ban commuted, never played in NHL again
Raffi Torres, NHL 41 games 2015-16 Never played in NHL again
Shane Pinto, NHL 41 games 2023-24 TBD
Trevor Bauer, MLB 194 games 2022-23 Pitched in Japan in 2023; currently a free agent
Alex Rodriguez, MLB 162 games 2014 Played until 2016, hit 42 more HRs in 216 games
Jenrry Mejia, MLB 162 games 2015 Banned for life in 2016 after third positive drug test
Marlon Byrd, MLB 162 games 2016 Never played in MLB again
Robinson Cano, MLB 162 games 2021 Played 33 games in 2022 with 3 teams
Michael Vick, NFL Two-plus seasons 2007-08 NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2010
Darrell Russell, NFL One-plus seasons 2002-03 Played briefly for Washington in 2003
Alex Karras, NFL One season 1963 Played 7 more seasons for Lions; elected to Pro Football HOF
Paul Hornung, NFL One season 1963 Played 3 more seasons for Packers, won two more titles; member of HOF
Ricky Williams, NFL One season 2006 Played 5 more seasons, gained 1,121 rushing yards in 2009
OJ Mayo, NBA 164 games 2016-18 Never returned to NBA, now playing pro ball in Egypt
Ron Artest, NBA 86 games 2004-05 Played 12 more NBA seasons, won title with 2009-10 Lakers
Latrell Sprewell, NBA 68 games 1997-98 Played 7 more NBA seasons, averaging 17 ppg in that span

Shane Pinto Could Still Have Productive Career

Many of the players on our list, especially in baseball, were suspended after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Several were on the tail end of their careers anyway.

Still, for anybody participating in NHL betting in Ontario, there are also some examples of players who went on to have long careers after they were banned by their leagues.

In the NFL, Michael Vick was named 2010 Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year and was second in AP Offensive Player of the Year voting for his strong season with the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback had missed two seasons (2007 and 2008) after spending time in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

Outside of the “Black Sox” scandal, after which MLB banned eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox for life for conspiring to throw the World Series, probably the most famous gambling-related suspensions were meted out in 1963 to two big names. The NFL sidelined Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers and Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions for the entire season. Both resumed their careers afterward and both were eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In the NBA, both Ron Artest (later known as Metta World Peace) and Latrell Sprewell played for several years after they were suspended for the remainder of their seasons for violent actions. Artest, banned for his role in the “Malice at the Palace” brawl in 2004, played all the way until 2017. Sprewell, who never played for Golden State again after attacking coach P.J. Carlesimo during practice in 1997, was traded to the New York Knicks and had five strong seasons there. Sprewell wrapped up his career in 2005 after two final seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup Odds

Ottawa is listed anywhere between +20000 and +30000 in Stanley Cup betting odds at various sportsbooks, indicative of one of the worst teams in the league.

It’s too early to say how Pinto’s career will go after his suspension, but the fact the Senators are going nowhere might play in his favor, because the team can afford to be patient with him the rest of this season as he works his way back into peak playing condition. Another positive for Pinto is he just turned 23 in November, so he should still be approaching his peak as an NHL player.



Jim Tomlin is an editor and writer specializing in sports, gambling and the intersection of those industries. He has 30+ years of journalism experience and his work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturday Down South and Saturday Tradition.

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