NHL conducts ‘investigation’ as Voynov applies for reinstatement


While unveiling tentative plans for more Global Series games overseas next season, the NHL provided an update: defenseman Slava Voynov has applied for reinstatement into the league.

Voynov, 28, was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Oct. 21, 2014 stemming from domestic violence charges, bringing his days with the Los Angeles Kings to an end, at least temporarily.

“Mr. Voynov has applied for consideration of reinstatement,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said via “We’re in the process of what will be a fairly comprehensive investigation, a factual investigation into the events surrounding initially his arrest and his ultimate departure from North America.

“I’m not in a position to give a timeline on that investigation. When that investigation is done, the Commissioner will deal with his application for reinstatement.”

From 2015-16 to 2017-18, Voynov played for St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL. He also won a gold medal with Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics, opening the door for this photo op, via Getty:

via Getty

Voynov hasn’t played so far in 2018-19, likely because he’s keeping the door open in hopes of an NHL return.

The league recently suspended Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson 27 games for a domestic incident it labeled “unacceptable off-ice conduct.” That suspension was appealed down to 18 games.

It’s unclear how Voynov’s situation may compare to Watson’s, at least once the NHL completes its “investigation.” Again, the league didn’t give much of an indication about when decisions will be made, one way or another.

Back in June, The Athletic’s Katie Strang went over some of the details surrounding the charges Voynov has faced. Here’s an unsettling excerpt (though you should read Strang’s full article):

Those clubs must remember that, according to the police report obtained by The Athletic, Voynov and Varlamova got into an argument that turned physical, and the details are grotesque. A statement included within that report states that, while attending a team Halloween party, the two began arguing, during which Voynov removed [Varlamova’s] costume glasses and stomped on them in front of the guests. When they continued arguing outside the venue, Voynov “punched her in the left jaw with a closed fist.”

Court documents detail how the fight continued when the two arrived home and the contents are equally grim. In one motion, filed on behalf of the District Attorney’s office, it states that Voynov “wrapped both of his hands around Ms. Varlamova’s neck and began to squeeze, making it difficult for her to breathe.” Voynov, according to the motion, “continued to choke her while repeatedly pushing her to the floor of the bedroom,” telling her to “get out,” that there would be “no more money for her,” and that she would be “gone.”

Capitals’ Wilson set to appeal 20-game ban, again

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has adopted this mantra and will now plead his case to an independent arbitrator.

After NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Wilson’s 20-game suspension on Thursday, the latter is expected to “appeal the appeal,” according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.

Wilson was handed the 20-game ban after an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during the preseason. The hit was one thing, but the lengthy suspension came on the heels of three separate incidents inside a calendar year for Wilson.

Bettman released his 31-page decision on Thursday, which outlined why he held up Wilson’s suspension, which was handed down by George Parros and the NHL’s player safety department.

Per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Wilson’s appeal will be heard next Wednesday by Shyam Das. Das was the same arbitrator that reduced Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson‘s suspension stemming from a domestic violence incident over the summer, so It wouldn’t be surprising to see Wilson’s suspension reduced through Das.

Wilson has already served nine of the 20 games (10 by the time the appeal is heard next week). At this point, it would appear this is more about retaining as much salary as he can rather than getting back on the ice.

Wilson is losing over $1.2 million because of the suspension. He signed a six-year, $31 million extension over the summer.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Will NHL reduce Tom Wilson’s 20-game suspension?


Tom Wilson will get a chance to state his case to reduce his 20-game suspension via an appeal hearing with the NHL on Thursday, a process Bob McKenzie discusses in the video above this post’s headline.

To catch you up to speed, note that this is part of the appeal process where Wilson brings his case to Gary Bettman. After that, Wilson also has the option to bring his case to an independent arbitrator.

Wednesday’s New York Rangers – Washington Capitals game represents the sixth of 20 games. Note that Wilson loses more than $60K for every game he’s suspended for, so a reduction in his sentence could mean a lot of dough for the polarizing hitter.

What are his chances of getting a lighter punishment, then? As McKenzie notes, they aren’t great, particularly when it comes to Bettman cutting down a suspension.

That said, there are two cases worth noting:

  • Raffi Torres’ hit on Marian HossaIn July 2012, Wilson-like hitter Torres saw a 25-game suspension fall to 21 games for his check on Marian Hossa. This is probably the most directly comparable situation, at least when you consider the types of hits and the rap sheet for the players involved.
  • In June 2014, Dan Carcillo saw an “abuse of official” suspension reduced from 10 games to six.

Now, a neutral arbitrator might be more likely to ease the duration of Wilson’s suspension. Consider these two cases, which aren’t necessarily directly comparable:

All things considered, it’s easy to see why Wilson would go through this process. It’s quite plausible that he’ll get back into the lineup sooner and lose less money from the suspension, even if it’s not fair to call the possibility “likely.”

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: Pastrnak’s rise to superstardom; Gritty now in costume form


Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at

William Nylander hasn’t asked for a trade nor have the Maple Leafs been shopping him. (Sportsnet)

• An inside look at the Calgary Flames’ decision between Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm at the 2013 NHL Draft. (Calgary Sun)

• Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen sported Anaheim Ducks-inspired cleats this weekend. (

• Can you guess who leads the NHL at 24 minutes a night? (Edmonton Journal)

David Pastrnak coming into his own as a superstar in the NHL. (Metro US)

• Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brett Connolly’s failed fist bump is the NHL’s GIF of the year. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Tyler Seguin talks misconceptions about some of the NHL’s most controversial players. (SportsDay)

• Gritty is now a Halloween costume because of course he is. (

• NHL players come from all ends of the earth. Here’s a breakdown. (The Hockey News)

Austin Watson and his curious case. (Toronto Star)

• Ottawa Senators veterans opening their homes to the team’s future. (Ottawa Sun)

Lars Eller doesn’t believe in the Maple Leafs. (

Frederik Andersen is doing something he doesn’t normally do: get off to a good start. (Toronto Star)

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Jenn Guardino, girlfriend of Predators’ Austin Watson, says he never abused her

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Jenn Guardino, the girlfriend of Austin Watson, has come out with a statement saying that the Nashville Predators forward did not physically abuse during an incident in June, clarifying that the incident was the result of her battle with alcoholism.

Watson is currently serving an 18-game suspension for his role in the domestic violence incident, one that began at 28 games before an independent arbitrator reduced it earlier this week.

In a statement first tweeted out by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Saturday, Guardino thanked family and friends for their support and extended her compassion to victims of domestic violence before clarifying the incident that took place in June.

“The incident that took place on June 16th, however, was not an act of domestic violence,” she wrote. “Austin Watson has never, and would never hit or abuse me. My behavior and state of intoxication led to the police being involved that day. I have struggled with alcoholism for many years and I am actively involved in AA.”

Guardino thanked Watson for his continued support through her treatment.

“We handled matters poorly on June 16th and know that we need to make better decisions going forward. I take full responsibility for my actions on that day. I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone involved for the negative attention that followed this incident, including the Nashville Predators community and the city of Nashville.”

The 26-year-old reportedly shoved Guardino during an argument at a gas station in Tennessee over Guardino’s drinking, which had led the couple to miss a wedding.

Watson pleaded no contest to the charges in July.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck