Kukla's Korner Hockey
I don’t expect the NHLPA and Kings are negotiating settlement. The NHLPA is unlikely to accept the termination of Richards contract in any form. For the NHLPA, it simply cannot allow this precedent to stand as it could adversely impact its members. By allowing the termination to go unchallenged, the floodgates risk opening with teams terminating problem contracts. ‘He’s fat, cut him. He’s slow, cut him.’ Ultimately, expect the NHLPA to see this case as far too important an event and precedent to go unopposed.
-Eric Macramalla at Forbes on the LA Kings/Mike Ricards situation. Much more at Forbes.
from Jonathan Quick at The Players' Tribune,
There are certain complexities to the game at the NHL level that can only be explained if you’ve seen them firsthand on the ice. That’s why I wanted to write this piece explaining what makes Elite Snipers so difficult to deal with for goaltenders....
Datsyuk is probably the most deceptive player in the NHL. He’s a magician in the way that he’s able to hide the puck on his stick. Part of that is his hardware. He uses a type of blade that is pretty unusual in the league. It’s a lot thicker from top to bottom, and somehow when you combine this with his quick release and the fact that he’s hardly ever looking at the net when he shoots, it’s extremely difficult to track the puck coming off his blade.
Like I said above, 90 percent of the save happens before the guy releases the puck. Most guys have a little tell. You look at where the puck is in relation to their feet, or the way they’re bending their knees to get ready to shoot, and you just know what’s going to happen before it happens. But the problem with Datsyuk is that he fools you with his intentions. He will be way out on the wall with his hands, feet, and eyes positioned for a cross-ice pass — and it’s the right decision. It’s what 99 percent of players will do in that situation. So you instantly start cheating your eyes over to where he’s going to pass. Next thing you know — what the hell? — the puck is behind you in the net. He shot it. Who shoots from there? Datsyuk shoots from there.
read on for more on Datsyuk and other players...
Milan Lucic met with the LA media today...
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
On whether he expected to be traded:
I didn’t really know what to expect. Obviously, with the change in the GM in Boston, obviously with the Bruins not making the playoffs, kind of talking about a transition of things moving forward. So, when you hear the rumors, especially now with social media, you know it’s kind of hard to get away from the rumors, you hear things floating around. I expected anything, I expected the unexpected and I mean, I definitely didn’t expect to get traded to a team like LA, but I couldn’t be happier to end up in a spot like this with a team like this, such a great organization with the success that they’ve had the last couple of years. I’m just hoping that I can come here and help the team out the best way I can, help them have some more success moving on in the future.
Below, watch Lucic talking with the media...
from Geneen Pipher of Hockey VIPs,
Former NHL star and Hockey Hall of Famer Vyacheslav Fetisov, who now serves in the Russian senate, said Voynov has to accept responsibility for his actions.
“I think he got off light,” the Detroit Red Wings legend told Russia’s TASS news agency. “[Voynov] laid hands on a woman and he has to answer for it. And it will be a lesson for everyone. I could never let myself hit a woman in my life and I never will.”
As for his future prospects, Fetisov said it is unclear how this incident will affect Voynov’s career but suggested other players should learn from his mistakes.
“It is difficult to tell if [the incident] influences his further career or not,” he said. “I can only assume Voynov will continue playing in the United States, but I don’t know his plans. He must draw the right conclusions and go through this serious test [first].
“He has been under the pressure of public attention and the media for a long time. For others, I’m sure, it will be a didactic moment.”
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Everyone knows Kings Coach Darryl Sutter loves to play youngsters. That is sarcasm — but Sutter might have no choice.
General Manager Dean Lombardi has noted that the Kings don't have a lot of cap space to make a big move, which is why they weren't able to keep "rental defenseman" Andrej Sekera, who went to the Edmonton Oilers for a six-year, $33-million deal, or veteran Justin Williams. The forward went to the Eastern Conference, joining the Washington Capitals for a two-year deal worth $6.5 million.
There are two problematic issues for the Kings, the first concerning center Mike Richards, whose contract has been terminated by the club. But the expectation is that the NHL Players' Assn. will appeal that move. Until the matter is resolved, the Kings won't know their options for sure. If worst came to worst, they could always put him in the minors indefinitely.
Equally problematic is the situation revolving around defenseman Slava Voynov. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor in the wake of a domestic violence charge, Voynov has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, meaning there is a chance he could still be unavailable as the Kings prepare to start their regular season Oct. 7 against the San Jose Sharks.
Complicating matters, he is still recovering from surgery for a torn Achilles' tendon and the league still needs to conduct its investigation into the domestic violence incident.
So the uncertainty over the futures of Voynov and Richards will keep the Kings in limbo for the foreseeable future.
more on the Kings...
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Those who say it's punishment enough that Voynov was suspended most of last season and must serve jail time and probation, perform community service and go through a domestic violence prevention program should focus on the nature of the incident. If the Kings give him another chance, they would be making it a "gimme" and diminish its magnitude.
Varlamova told Redondo Beach police Voynov punched her in the jaw, choked her three times, pushed her to the ground, kicked her and shoved her into the corner of a flat-screen TV, resulting in a 1.2-inch gash above her left eye. He accepted responsibility for his actions, remember? That should not be forgotten.
The Kings can terminate his contract, trade him, or keep him with the team. Here's a vote for one of the first two options.
That he's a top-four defenseman isn't reason enough to keep him. It's irrelevant. He doesn't deserve to wear their uniform and they shouldn't grant him that privilege.
from Eric Macramalla at Forbes,
... However, let’s assume the Kings terminated the Richards contract after learning he was arrested in connection with the unlawful possession of OxyContin.
If that’s the case, expect the Kings to have a tough time upholding the termination of the Richards contract in the event the NHLPA files a grievance....
Why the uphill battle for the Kings? The reason is the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse And Behavioral Health Program Policy.
This Drug Policy sets out specific drug treatment protocols that must be followed in the case of an arrest or conviction related to drugs. Since it was collectively bargained between the Union and the NHL, adhering to the Drug Policy is not optional for teams; it’s mandatory. For example, a team cannot simply elect to ignore the collectively bargained terms for the sake of convenience. The whole idea behind the Drug Policy is to get players the help they need. The focus of the Drug Policy is ultimately rehabilitative and not punitive.
Any departure from collectively bargained terms may be met with a grievance.
LOS ANGELES – Earlier today, Slava Voynov entered a no-contest plea to a single misdemeanor, domestic violence charge. The Los Angeles Kings have issued the following statement relating to this development:
“We believe the legal system has effectively resolved this matter and the punishment is fair and just. Any act of domestic violence is unacceptable. As an organization, the prevention of domestic violence and the education of our players and employees is of paramount importance. We will continue to actively develop and implement a strategy to deliver this message. We remain steadfast in our support of the National Hockey League as they now begin their own investigative process. Until that is complete we will withhold further comment.”
added 2:50pm, more via Hammond tweet,
DA says conviction will result in Voynov deportation. Defense is objecting to that, saying it is not mandatory. Some debate.
Judge clarifies that possible Voynov deportation is a matter for immigration court, not this court.
added 2:52pm, Hammond...
Judge has accepted plea agreement.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Mike Richards, whose contract has been terminated by the Los Angeles Kings, is part of an ongoing investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for an off-ice incident, a source told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the RCMP in Manitoba told ESPN that, as of Tuesday, no charges have been brought against Richards but declined to comment further.
The source said that Canadian Border Services is also involved in the investigation, but a spokesperson declined comment, citing Canadian privacy laws.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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