Yesterday in Pittsburgh, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that Slava Voynov was still suspended and, because of that, would not be allowed to play in the upcoming World Cup.
Bettman also said that the Russian Ice Hockey Federation had been told as much.
However, it seems the Russians — who last week added Voynov to their World Cup roster — still haven’t given up on trying to get the 26-year-old defensemen into the tournament.
From Russian News Agency TASS:
“The Russian Ice Hockey Federation is holding negotiations with the organizers of the World Cup – the NHL – concerning the issue of national team’s defender Vyacheslav Voynov,” the RHF’s press service told TASS on Tuesday adding that besides the Russian and US sides the negotiations also involve Rene Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
“The Russian Ice Hockey Federation hopes that the organizers of the international competition will make a positive decision on the issue and the defender will be allowed to be included in the roster of the Russian national team,” the RHF added.
Known in the United States as Slava Voynov he played in the past for NHL’s Los Angeles Kings before the North American Hockey League suspended him over domestic violence charges and the player returned last autumn back home, where he is currently playing for the national team and KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg club.
Time will tell if the Russians can convince the NHL to change its stance. They could sure use Voynov, given the relative weakness of their defense. But Bettman did not sound yesterday like he was open to a negotiation.
The Russians, for the record, have maintained that it’s not the NHL’s decision to make.
So perhaps that’s the big question here — who has the final say on the matter? Officially, the World Cup “is a joint effort of the NHLPA and the NHL, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation.”
It’s just not entirely clear how that bit of boilerplate applies to the Voynov situation.