Three things about the L.A. Kings victory over the Sabres

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blanked the Sabres on Thursday for his team-record 33rd career shutout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blanked the Sabres on Thursday for his team-record 33rd career shutout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Here are the first few paragraphs of Thursday’s game story:

The Kings had just enough Thursday. The defending Stanley Cup champions had 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders on their roster when they faced off against the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center, and not one healthy or eligible body more.

There simply was no margin for error for the Kings in their first game since defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested by Redondo Beach police on charges of domestic violence and suspended indefinitely with pay by the NHL on Monday morning.

Under normal circumstances, the mere presence of the struggling Sabres would have eased the Kings’ minds and made for an easy night. But an early goal and a record-setting goaltending performance also propelled the Kings to a 2-0 victory, their fifth in a row.

Here are three more things about the Kings’ latest victory:

First, Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar scored power-play goals and the Kings clicked on two of three chances with the man-advantage overall. It’s a start for a power play that was 2 for 20 (10 percent) and ranked 25th in the 30-team NHL going into the game. The Kings must be better in their special teams play if they are to defend their Stanley Cup championship. It’s really that simple.

Second, Jonathan Quick stopped 29 shots and recorded his Kings-record 33rd shutout of his career, one more than the mark he shared since Oct. 16 with Rogie Vachon. “It really is nothing new,” Kopitar said of Quick’s play in goal. “He’s just solid back there. We try to help him out as much as we can. When breakdowns do happen, he’s back there. He’s saved our butts a bunch of times already. I’m sure he’s going to continue to do it.”

Third, the Kings welcomed defenseman Jake Muzzin to their lineup after he sat out the first six games of the season because of an upper-body injury. They also played for the first time since defenseman Slava Voynov was arrested on domestic violence charges and suspended Monday by the NHL, which turned out to be less of a distraction for the team than anyone might have imagined. The Kings are strong that way. Nothing seems to trouble them. Let’s see how it plays out long-term.

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NHL could give the L.A. Kings salary cap relief if Slava Voynov is banned for an extended period

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.

 

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Slava Voynov’s lawyer says suspended L.A. Kings defenseman never hit woman

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.

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L.A. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi talks about Slava Voynov (part 2)

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 …”

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L.A. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi speaks about Slava Voyonov (part 1)

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.”

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Here’s what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said about domestic violence early this month

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.”

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Kings statement on the arrest, suspension of defenseman Slava Voynov

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.”

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Kings defenseman Slava Voynov arrested on domestic violence charges, suspended by NHL

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.

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Three things about the Kings’ 3-2 victory Thursday (11/14) over the Islanders

The Kings turned in a lackluster first 40 minutes Thursday, falling behind the New York Islanders by two goals at Uniondale, N.Y., before rallying behind third-period goals from defenseman Slava Voynov and rookie forwards Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli to pull out a 3-2 victory. The Kings have secured three points out of a possible four so far on their four-game trip. Here are three things about the Kings’ victory over the Islanders:

1. Coach Darryl Sutter was forced to ice a lineup that didn’t include forwards Jeff Carter (broken foot), Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Jarret Stoll (upper body), plus defenseman Matt Greene (upper body) and goaltender Jonathan Quick (groin). With the Kings playing as if they were stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, Sutter turned to Pearson, Toffoli and Linden Vey for some energy in the third period. The coach teamed the three rookies together, hoping their experience as a top line with Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League would aid them. Pearson scored the tying goal and Toffoli supplied the go-ahead score, with only 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the third. So, that worked well. You can expect to see them together again. Often. The Kings’ trip continues with games Friday against the New Jersey Devils and Sunday against the New York Rangers.

2. Ben Scrivens has a chance to show the Kings and their fans that the club didn’t get swindled in the offseason trade that sent backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scrivens and forward Matt Frattin went the other way. Quick is out for up to six weeks because of a groin injury suffered Tuesday in the Kings’ shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, so Scrivens should have plenty of time to prove his value. Scrivens had 23 saves in the Kings’ come-from-behind victory over the Islanders, keeping them within striking distance while they were outplayed during the first two periods. Martin Jones will serve as his backup for the time being.

3. Slava Voynov continues to impress and amaze. He kick-started the Kings’ comeback with a goal from a sharp angle off a pass from below the goal line by Anze Kopitar. There’s more to the young defenseman’s game than scoring, though. The puck seemed to be following him around the ice in the third period, when the Kings wrestled control of the game from the Islanders. Voynov isn’t the biggest player in the Kings’ defense corps. He’s not their best puckhandler. He’s certainly not their most experienced player. He continues to make smart plays that help the Kings win games, however. It happens at both ends of the ice, too. He’s not a one-trick pony, which is why his value to the Kings will only increase as he logs more and more ice time. He’s trending in the right direction, in other words.

 

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