Slava Voynov

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Arbitrator upholds Voynov suspension but says he served half

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — An arbitrator upheld Slava Voynov’s one-season NHL suspension Thursday but is giving him credit for serving half of it in 2018-19.

Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended the former Los Angeles Kings defenseman for the upcoming season and the 2020 playoffs after determining he committed acts of domestic violence. The NHL Players Association appealed the ruling.

Arbitrator Shyam Das upheld Bettman’s decision that Voynov should be suspended for the equivalent of one NHL season but found he should be credited with having already served 41 games of the suspension last season. So Voynov will now be eligible to return midway through next season.

This marks the third time Das has reduced a suspension in the past eight months. He reduced Nashville forward Austin Watson‘s suspension for domestic violence from 27 to 18 games and later shortened Washington enforcer Tom Wilson‘s suspension by six to 14 games for repeated on-ice hits to the head.

The Kings, who terminated Voynov’s $25 million contract in 2015 but retain his rights due to his status on the voluntary retired list, said in a statement Thursday that he will not play for Los Angeles.

”We will now determine the impact of the arbitrator’s decision on our rights to the player and consider our options going forward,” the team said.

The league said in a statement that it was satisfied the arbitrator supported the penalty in regards to the severity of Voynov’s actions.

The league added that ”while we do not believe Mr. Voynov was entitled to any ‘credit’ for time missed, we accept Arbitrator Das’ conclusion that the precise factual context here was unusual – including the fact Voynov has not played in the NHL since October 2014, and that he did not play professional hockey at all during the 2018-19 season.”

The NHLPA said in a statement that ”this fundamental due process right is designed to ensure that, even in difficult cases involving domestic violence, the NHL’s disciplinary procedures and decisions are fair and consistent. The NHLPA continues to work with the NHL to educate players about domestic violence.”

Voynov’s agent, Roland Melanson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Voynov was suspended indefinitely in October 2014 after being arrested and accused of abusing his wife. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, left the United States to go back to Russia and in July had the conviction dismissed by a judge in Los Angeles. His most recent suspension was imposed in April after he applied for reinstatement.

The 29-year-old Russian last played an NHL game on Oct. 19, 2014. He won a pair of Stanley Cup titles with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.

Since his last NHL game, Voynov played three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League and won a gold medal at the 2018 Olympics. NHL players didn’t compete at the Pyeongchang Games.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Slava Voynov appeals suspension for 2019-20 season

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NEW YORK (AP) — Slava Voynov is appealing the suspension imposed by the NHL after it determined he committed acts of domestic violence.

Jonathan Weatherdon, a spokesman for the NHL Players’ Association, said Wednesday that the organization had filed an appeal on behalf of Voynov. Players have the right to appeal suspensions to a neutral arbitrator, though a hearing date has not yet been set.

Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Voynov on Tuesday for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs for what the league called unacceptable off-ice conduct. The 29-year-old Russian could have his eligibility restored on July 1, 2020, based on good behavior.

Voynov was suspended indefinitely in October 2014 after being arrested and accused of abusing his wife. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, left the United States to go back to Russia and in July had the conviction dismissed by a judge in Los Angeles. He has applied to be reinstated by the NHL.

The NHL conducted an investigation and held a hearing March 21 under the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement regarding the Oct. 19, 2014, incident involving Voynov and his wife. Bettman said he determined after that investigation and hearing that Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence.

Nashville forward Austin Watson was suspended 27 games in September for unacceptable off-ice conduct following an investigation and hearing after he pleaded no contest in July to a charge of domestic assault stemming from an incident in June. Arbitrator Shyam Das reduced the suspension to 18 games on appeal.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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:

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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.

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

Voynov will leave Kings, return to Russia

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By going with the option to “self-depart,” Slava Voynov is leaving the Los Angeles Kings and heading back to Russia.

Voynov released a statement via his agent, Rolland Hedges, sharing the stunning (yet perhaps foreseeable?) decision:

“Earlier today, I notified the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players’ Association and the Los Angeles Kings of my decision to immediately begin the formal process of returning to Russia with my family. I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey who have been affected by my situation, and I also wish the players of the LA Kings success in the future.”

The OC Register’s Rich Hammond reports that this decision may allow Voynov to return to North America at some point in the future:

Also, Hammond notes that this isn’t quite a done deal, although the process is likely to be completed.

As far as Voynov’s money goes, it appears that the Kings are free of that burden:

As Puck Daddy reports, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirms that there will be “no cap charge” for the Kings.

Update: The Kings released a statement regarding Voynov, which you can read more about here.

Also, Hammond explains that Voynov is going to self-depart, not self-deport: