NHL suspensions

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NHL suspends Slava Voynov through 2019-20 season

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The NHL suspended former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov through the 2019-20 season (both the regular season and playoffs) for “unacceptable off-ice conduct.” However, the league also revealed that “Voynov’s eligibility to play in the NHL will be restored (assuming good behavior) no later than July 1, 2020.”

That “unacceptable off-ice conduct” stems from Voynov’s domestic assault arrest in October 2014, which prompted an indefinite suspension at the time. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman described “acts of domestic violence directed at [Voynov’s] wife,” Marta Varlamova, in the league’s statement.

“I have determined that Player Slava Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence directed at his wife,” Bettman wrote. “Today’s ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL’s strongly-held policy that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct, particularly as directed at a spouse, domestic partner or family member.”

The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman reached out to the NHLPA regarding a possible appeal on the decision, with the union responding that they’re “reviewing the decision.” The Kings, who own Voynov’s NHL rights, provided a similar statement, via Dillman:

Voynov, 29, would be 30 at the time of his potential July 2020 reinstatement. Voynov last played six games for the Kings in 2014-15. While the Kings stood by the league when it came to suspending Voynov, they also handled the situation in questionable ways. That included strange salary cap-related comments from then-GM Dean Lombardi, and allowing him to skate with teammates. The latter action prompted the league to fine the Kings $100K for breaking the terms of Voynov’s suspension.

After leaving the U.S. while facing possible deportation related to his domestic assault charges, Voynov spent the 2015-16 through 2017-18 seasons with St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL. Voynov won a gold medal with Russia during the 2018 Winter Olympics, and had hoped to return to the NHL during the 2018-19 season. Voynov was photographed with Vladimir Putin after winning that gold medal:

voynovputin
via Getty Images

Voynov applied for reinstatement back in November 2018, prompting what the league deemed “a fairly comprehensive investigation.”

As The Athletic’s Katie Strang detailed in June 2018, any potential suitor for Voynov would be wise to consider some of the graphic, disturbing details of the incident. Police reports indicated that Voynov “punched, kicked, and choked” his wife, while Strang’s account including additional disturbing details.

(Consider this a content warning, as this information can be graphic.)

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.”

These clubs should also know that Varlamova’s seven-year-old daughter was reportedly at home at the time of the incident, and apparently, it did not end there.

PHT will monitor this situation for updates, which might see a decision from the NHLPA regarding an appeal.

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

Josh Archibald suspended two games for hit on Ryan Hartman

via NHL DoPS
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After holding a hearing with Josh Archibald earlier on Friday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended the Arizona Coyotes forward two games for his “high, hard hit” on Ryan Hartman of the Nashville Predators.

The league’s explanation video explains that Hartman’s head was “the main point of contact” and that contact with the head was avoidable.

During the game itself (a 2-1 win for the Coyotes on Thursday), Archibald received a minor penalty. He doesn’t have a history of supplemental discipline at the NHL level, which may have prompted a lighter punishment. Hartman eventually returned to that loss for Nashville.

Here’s the explanation video via the NHL’s DPoS:

Archibald will be eligible to play for the Coyotes again on Nov. 23.

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 phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Lucic suspended one game for boarding

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TSN reports that NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic one game for boarding Philly’s Zac Rinaldo:

Lucic received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit, which was all kinds of contentious. Rinaldo didn’t appear hurt on the play (in fact, he jumped up and tooled on Nathan Horton) and later said he didn’t think the hit was dirty.

Lucic didn’t agree with the call, saying “I felt like I made every effort to take him out laterally” and “you can see even him, his body rotating because I took him from the right side.” B’s head coach Claude Julien said much of the same, claiming that Lucic let up and Rinaldo turned at the last second.

No matter, though.

Shanahan opted to suspend Lucic anyway, and one wonders what would’ve happened if he didn’t. Looch ran afoul of the league earlier this season after charging Ryan Miller (though he ultimately avoided punishment) and holds repeat offender status thanks to a one-game suspension for crosschecking Maxim Lapierre in the face during the 2009 playoffs.

Throw in the fact other incidents involving Bruins went unpunished — Adam McQuaid’s knee on Nick Foligno, Brad Marchand’s slew-foot on Matt Niskanen — well, it was almost too much for the conspiracy theorists to handle. (With this out of the way they can now move onto other theories, like how the DaVinci Code foretold the recent concussion pandemic.)

Of note, this is just the second single-game suspension Shanahan’s issued this year. The other went to Buffalo’s Ville Leino for an elbow to the head of Philly’s Matt Read.

Soon, it will be news when Andy Sutton isn’t suspended

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NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton indefinitely for his hit on Carolina’s Alexei Ponikarovsky.

(Watch the hit here.)

The incident occurred in the third period of Edmonton’s 5-3 loss to the ‘Canes on Wednesday night; Sutton has the option of an in-person hearing with Shanahan to discuss the incident, according to NHL.com.

This is Sutton’s second suspension in 41 days (he got a five-gamer for a headshot on Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog back in late October) and fourth of his career — he was suspended four games for a headshot on Darcy Tucker and a two games for boarding Pascal Dupuis.

As such, we could be entering uncharted waters with the impending Shanaban. I don’t know if you can classify Sutton as a repeat offender anymore, because he’s sorta entered serial offender territory. Remember, this was the same guy that didn’t seem overly concerned about changing his game after the Landeskog hit.

“I’ll continue to play my style,” he told the National Post. “You have to play close to the opposing player and I’ll still play aggressively.”

No supplemental discipline for Johnson after Iginla headbutt

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Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune is reporting that Wild forward Nick Johnson will not receive any additional punishment for his alleged “headbutt” on Calgary’s Jarome Iginla last night.

The incident occurred during a second period scrap with Minnesota up 2-0:

Johnson received five minutes for fighting and an additional 10 (match penalty, intent to injure) with the headbutt coming around the 40 second mark of the video.

The big debate is if Johnson’s actions were egregious enough for a match penalty…or if the match penalty was a result of Iggy working the officials.

“It just felt I got head-butted. I haven’t had that very often in a fight. I thought the refs made the right call, and that pretty much was the end of it,” Iginla told reporters afterward. “You just kinda get fired up in a fight, and I felt like he got me there a couple of times with the head. I thought the refs saw it, made the right call, and that was pretty much the end of it.”

Wild head coach Mike Yeo disagreed with the call (Russo also disagreed, for whatever that’s worth), suggesting that Johnson was merely trying to protect himself during a fight.

I guess the tricky part for Brendan Shanahan and the NHL’s discipline/player safety department is they just nailed Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta for serial headbutting. That said, there’s a big difference between the moves Kaleta pulled and what Johnson did last night. Johnson was jerking his head around during a fight; Kaelta was launching himself at unsuspecting opponents with his helmet on (and was caught doing it on three separate occasions.)

UPDATE: Russo also reports the Wild plan to make a formal request to Terry Gregson, NHL Director of Officiating, to rescind the match penalty.