Slava Voynov

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Conviction of ex-Kings player Voynov dismissed by LA judge

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has dismissed a misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction against former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, a move that could clear a path for his return to the NHL.

The judge granted Voynov’s request to dismiss his conviction on Monday – over the objection of Los Angeles County prosecutors – three years after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse.

Police said he punched, kicked and choked his wife at their Redondo Beach home in October 2014 after a fight that began at a party attended by other Kings players. He served almost two months in jail and voluntarily agreed to return to Russia after he was taken into custody by U.S. immigration officials.

The Kings terminated Voynov’s $25 million contract in 2015 but with his conviction overturned, he can request a hearing with the NHL commissioner to apply for reinstatement.

Prosecutors opposed Voynov’s request to dismiss his conviction and argued in court papers that it is ”impossible to determine” whether he met all of the conditions of probation after his plea because he returned to Russia.

A doctor told the court that Voynov had completed 28 domestic violence counseling sessions but noted the couple had a ”lack of emotional awareness and difficulty to communicate effectively,” court documents said. The counseling, prosecutors argue, was not sufficient to satisfy the legal requirement after his plea.

Voynov played on a team composed of Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics earlier this year. His attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press by email that Voynov’s status has not changed but that he can now proceed with a petition for reinstatement.

The Kings said in a statement to The AP: ”Any decision to reinstate Slava Voynov into the league is in the hands of the NHL. It is premature to comment prior to the NHL’s ruling.”

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.

More AP NHL: http://www.apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey .

Report: Slava Voynov looking for dismissal of domestic violence case

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Disgraced Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is asking a judge to dismiss his misdemeanor conviction of corporal injury to a spouse in a move, the LA Times reports, toward the possibility of returning to the NHL.

Voynov last played in the NHL in October 2014 after the NHL suspended him indefinitely after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. He’s played the last three seasons in Russia with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg.

Per the LA Times:

Voynov’s wife, Marta Varlamova, told police in October 2014 that her husband punched her left jaw outside of a Halloween party. The dispute continued at the couple’s Redondo Beach home, according to the police report, where Voynov choked her with both hands three times, repeatedly pushed her to the ground, kicked her five to six times on the ground and eventually shoved her into the corner of a flat-screen television mounted on a wall.

“My blood, all over bedroom and bathroom,” Varlamova told police in a recorded interview. “And it’s not the first time.”

Voynov spent two months in jail after pleading no contest to the charges. He returned to Russia rather than face deportation from the U.S.

Voynov’s five-year contract with the Kings was terminated, but not before the Kings were fined $100,000 for allowing him to practice while under suspension.

The work visa, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, would allow Voynov to apply for reinstatement.

An expungement hearing is scheduled for July 2 in California court to remove the no-contest plea from his record. If that request is granted, he will have no criminal record. That would mean no further immigration problems in the U.S. or Canada. In fact, he’s had a U.S. Visitors’ Visa for at least a year, and, last summer, had some surgery done in Denver.

Even if this all goes through and Voynov gets the courts’ blessing (and subsequent blessings from other entities), it’s hard to think any team in the NHL would want to open its doors to him.

Friedman, however, said there is interest in the right-shot defenseman who is still just 28 years old.

The Kings still own Voynov’s rights as he is on the voluntary retirement list. Any team wanting to sign him will have to make a deal with the Kings.

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

Report: Voynov – KHL bound?

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Slava Voynov might play professional hockey in 2015-16, just not in the NHL.

The self-departed former Los Angeles Kings defenseman is planning on playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, according to Sports Express’ Igor Eronko plus the Associated Press and ESPN.

Voynov announced his decision to leave the Kings for Russia back on Sept. 16, prompting the Kings to claim that he essentially would not have been welcomed back.

He served some jail time for domestic violence-related charges and was temporarily detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs.

His KHL rights belong to Traktor Chelyabinsk, but they will reportedly be transferred to SKA St. Petersburg. Every indication is that the Kings still hold his NHL rights, for whatever that may be worth.

Kings mum after losing Muzzin, Greene to injury

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Last year, the Los Angeles Kings bemoaned their lack of depth on defense.

This year, things were supposed to be different.

Then Sunday happened.

Los Angeles lost the services of both Jake Muzzin and Matt Greene in a 2-1 exhibition win over Colorado, per LA Kings Insider. Both were sidelined with upper-body injuries; Muzzin left after getting hit hard by Blake Comeau eight minutes into the game, while Greene made it late into the second period before exiting.

After the game, head coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t saying anything in terms of injury outlook.

“It’s a new year, it’s not new rules,” Sutter said, referencing his stance on sharing health updates. “It’s the same rule.”

Losing Muzzin or Greene for any length of time will hurt the Kings.

Last year, Slava Voynov‘s suspension and Alex Martinez’s health issues forced L.A. to dig deep into its reserves, which saw the likes of Jeff Schultz and Jamie McBain get games. The team ended up relying too heavily on Drew Doughty — who averaged 28 minutes per game — and eventually missed the playoffs.

(Worth noting that Muzzin is often Doughty’s partner on defense, and averaged a career-high 22:42 last season.)

This year, the Kings addressed their depth issues by adding veteran blueliner Christian Ehrhoff in free agency. Ehrhoff was a busy man on Sunday night, getting over 30 (!!) minutes of ice time in the wake of the Muzzin/Greene injuries.

After ‘troubling incidents,’ Kings to get off-ice conduct training

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In the wake of some “troubling incidents that occurred last season,” the Los Angeles Kings today announced a series of “conduct awareness training initiatives” to be implemented for 2015-16.

From the press release:

Highlighting today’s announcement is the Kings’ new partnership with Peace Over Violence, a violence prevention center headquartered in Los Angeles. As part of this new partnership, the Kings and Peace Over Violence (POV) will create a promotional campaign entitled “Kings Over Violence” in an effort to create a platform to significantly increase awareness against violence. Within this campaign, the Kings will seek to support the goals of POV, which is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence.

In addition to the POV / Kings Over Violence program, the club is adding:

— The Herren Project, aimed at better educating players about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
— Sexual harassment training.
— A conduct awareness program created by the Kings’ owner, AEG Sports properties.
— A new Player Assistance position, which will focus on the challenges of addiction and substance abuse, has been created. The Kings have hired former NHL player Brantt Myhres for this position.

“During the past year, we have been extremely diligent in developing an educational strategy and comprehensive programs in an effort to ensure that the troubling incidents that occurred last season are not repeated,” said AEG’s chief executive, Dan Beckerman, in the release. “We have conducted research, gathered information and forged partnerships that will better prepare our players and staff for challenges that could impact their behavior away from the workplace.”

Added GM Dean Lombardi: “These programs are now part of the development process for all of our players. No longer can we solely focus on their growth and education as just hockey players; we need to give them the tools to thrive as people, too.”

Related:

Slava Voynov will leave Kings, return to Russia

Rangers sign Jarret Stoll

Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance