It’s possible the NHL could give the shorthanded Kings some relief from the salary cap if defenseman Slava Voynov, who is suspended indefinitely with pay after his arrest Monday on domestic violence charges, is banned from the league for an extended period. At present, Voynov’s salary counts against the cap, as if he were sidelined by an injury or suspended for any other reason.
Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday that during a conference call Tuesday with the Kings, “I did, however, allow for the possibility that we may revisit the player’s treatment if it becomes clear that this is going to be a longer-term situation.”
Daly told the website that the NHL acted Monday on “more information about the incident that has been available publicly.” Daly did not elaborate on the league’s swift action, which was announced only hours after Voynov was arrested by Redondo Beach police.
Jake Muzzin was cleared Wednesday to play in Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center, giving the Kings the full complement of six defensemen. Muzzin was sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered during the final week of training camp and sat out the team’s first six games.
“Excited for (tonight),” Muzzin said. “You’ve got to deal with it the proper way. It could have been a lot worse if we didn’t deal if we rushed it. We’ve got a lot of season left and I’m looking forward to it. … It didn’t affect my skating or anything like that. … It’s not 100 percent, but it’s good to go.”
Craig Renetzky, the attorney for Slava Voynov, told The Hockey News that the alleged victim in the case of domestic violence that resulted in the Kings’ defenseman’s arrest by Redondo Beach police early Monday morning and his indefinite suspension by the NHL was injured in an “accident.”
“Hopefully, the police will get that,” Renetzky said. “And we’re hoping the NHL looks at the new evidence and will lift the suspension. What the police will find out when they talk to her is that that action was not related to Mr. Voynov. I can’t go into complete details, but Mr. Voynov never hit the woman. This is really just a pure accident and we’re going to provide them with some additional evidence we hope they’ll present to the District Attorney’s office. And if they do, based on my experience, they don’t have a case.
“I think if the authorities ac properly and do a complete investigation, they will have to find that charges are not warranted.”
Detectives hope to complete their investigation and file their reports with the District Attorney by week’s end, Redondo Beach police Lt. Joe Hoffman told the Los Angeles News Group on Tuesday.
Jake Muzzin, left, signed a five-season contract extension with the Kings that will keep him in uniform through the 2019-20 season. (Fil photo by Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)
Jake Muzzin has been sidelined by an upper-body injury since before the start of the regular season Oct. 8. But the Kings’ defenseman said Tuesday he hoped to play for the first time this season Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres. Here’s more from Muzzin: “Feeling good. Getting close. Maybe Thursday. I’ve just got to go see the doctor. We’ll get cleared, which I’m pretty sure we will. Feel good, so …”
The Kings have only five healthy and eligible defensemen on the roster after Slava Voynov’s domestic violence suspension Monday by the NHL. Voynov is banned from all club activities, including practices and games.
Here’s more of a 20-minute interview Tuesday with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who talks here about what he’s learned about defenseman Slava Voynov’s arrest and suspension on domestic violence charges:
“I’ve got a conference call today (with the NHL). That’s where it all gets gray here. There’s so many things. Slava certainly has his rights, then you have the police investigation, then you have the league investigation, then you’ve got the issues about, OK, how long does this go? So, we’re in limbo until this process plays out. In the meantime, it has ramifications. Do we recall a player. What are the implications for the (salary) cap. What’s the shortest (he could be suspended)? If he’s found not-guilty does that mean he’s still suspended? There’s so many issues right here. I’ve got a call today, but even then I don’t expect a lot of answers.
“For the NHL, this is probably new turf. I think it’s new turf for a lot of leagues. Again, because the old system was to wait until the criminal system does it’s thing. That ain’t the case. Now what do you do with all that gray that’s out there, particularly now again in a cap era when it’s no that easy to recall players and deal with things. We’ll have to start working their way through it.
“Nothing at all (in terms of discipline issues with Voynov in the past). Never even been late for practice. This is a kid, you could have made more money in juniors, in the minors, and his father was really struggling. Kept his promise. … Anything involving character issues off the rink, even when we drafted him, he kept his word and came over right away when he could have made more money in Russia. That’s all on the positive side. Then, you know, so …”
Here’s some of what Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told beat reporters during a 20-plus minute question-and-answer session Tuesday in the wake of defenseman Slava Voynov’s arrest and suspension for domestic violence:
“We’ve got to let this process go through. They (the NHL) don’t need to explain. I think it’s pretty self-evident. The biggest issue you’ve got, other than there’s always that line between innocent and proven guilty, that’s where the rub is. Are you surprised they did what they did, especially in this climate? Well, no. In the other cases in the old days, the leagues would always say, wait a minute there’s a criminal process that has to take place before they can react.
“So, you saw that, even in the NBA. They had nine cases in the last three years. You saw that in baseball with Albert Belle, (Jose) Canseco. So, that’s the way it was always handled, that it’s a criminal thing, let it play out. Even the players played, because we were going under the premise of innocent until proven guilty.
“That now is obviously changed. From the old days. I get it. To say I’m surprised they acted that way, no. Do I think it’s inappropriate, no. … That’s clearly the way leagues are headed right now. The charge itself is enough to take action, when in the past, it wasn’t.”
Here’s what NHL commisioner Gary Bettman had to say when asked about domestic violence earlier this month:
“We as a league have more than enough authority and mechanisms to punish, if necessary, in the appropriate case. Fortunately we haven’t seen too many. But more importantly we focus on counseling and education, and in the joint programs we have with the Players’ Association we’ve been counseling and educating on domestic violence for more than a decade, I don’t remember the exact date,” he said. “The security department does it in their annual meetings with each team, and the behavioral counselors from the substance abuse, behavioral health program also counsel and educate the players on those and many other issues.
“So I’m not sure for us there is any need for any code of conduct other than our players, who overwhelming conduct themselves magnificently off the ice — we deal with it on a case by case basis. I don’t think we need to formalize anything more. Our players know what’s right and wrong, and as I said, we have the mechanisms in place to hopefully not get to that point.”
The Kings issued the following statement regarding the arrest of defenseman Slava Voynov on domestic violence charges early Monday morning in Redondo Beach and his subsequent indefinite suspension by the NHL from all club activities:
“These developments are of great concern to our organization. We support the NHL’s decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate action as legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course.”
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested on domestic violence charges and suspended from all club activities by the NHL pending an investigation into the matter, the league announced in a press release Monday. Further details were not immediately available, although media reports indicate the arrest happened in Redondo Beach early Monday morning. There is no mention of a wife or family in the personal section of Voynov’s biography in the Kings’ 2014-15 media guide. There was no immediate comment from the Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Voynov’s arrest and suspension happened only weeks after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman insisted in a visit to Staples Center for the Kings’ season-opening game Oct. 8 that the league does not have a domestic abuse problem. The NFL has been under harsh scrutiny in the wake of a video showing then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice striking his then fiance in the elevator of an Atlantic City, N.J., casino/hotel. The NFL initial suspended Rice for only two games.
Voynov, a 24-year-old Russian, has played for the Kings since 2011-12.
Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson scored for the Kings and Jonathan Quick made xx saves in a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon over the Minnesota Wild at Staples Center. The Kings won their second in a row when getting widely outshot. The Wild outshot the Kings 41-16, after the St. Louis Blues outshot them 43-18 on Thursday. Matt Cooke scored the Wild’s only goal, cutting the Kings’ lead to 2-1 in the third period.