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The Los Angeles Kings Should Say No To Slava Voynov

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.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: slava+voynov

Comments

JimH's avatar

It’s interesting that Mike Richards is part of an investigation—no charges and nothing proven—and gets his contract terminated.  Voynov admits he beat his wife, is charged and gets jail time, but he still has a contract.  Nice, Lombardi.  Nice.

Posted by JimH from the International Space Station on 07/03/15 at 08:36 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

HELL YEAH!  Which was are ‘dem ‘der pitchforks at?!!

Nah, but Jim, that’s a fairly simplistic analysis. Actually, it’s not an analysis, it’s just a statement that if A =/=B, then Something Bad. Imma probably going to write way too much now, since it’s almost the beginning of the holiday weekend and, well, ‘Murica!

Firstly, let’s be clear about something so that we can get the morality play out of the way: nobody, least of all, Lombardi, is happy about the Voynov situation. Many of us would be quite happy if he never suited up for the Kings again. What he did was reprehensible. Furthermore, the Kings are not a team that particularly appeals to a working class, gritty community. The fan base is, on average, highly educated and often family-oriented, so there’s no question that Voynov’s continued presence on the team would create cognitive dissonance.

Voynov was suspended the entire season, which is almost certainly the heaviest penalty for DV in all of sports. All this PRIOR to his day in court, no less. He is still suspended, in fact. By both the league and the team. He has now been punished by the legal system.  Did Lombardi argue to the league that Voynov should be allowed to play pending resolution of his case? Hmm, nope, don’t remember reading about that. Did he immediately run to the league and ask for a break on the cap? Nope, took quite some time before that was resolved as well. Has there been one single statement by the team offering Voynov support and saying that he was a King and would be welcomed back? Nope. There have been no moral shortcomings on the part of the organization.

Now, whether Voynov ever plays again in the NHL, let alone the Kings, is subject to a number of factors. Firstly, Bettman needs to rule on his eligibility. Secondly, Voynov needs to be cleared of the possibility of deportation. Thirdly, he needs pre-clearance for admission into Canada. At some point after Bettman rules, the team can decide what to do with him. If Bettman rules that he is eligible (and what is more likely, Bettman will suspend him a little bit longer and toss in a fine just to seem uber hard), the decision on what LA does STILL can’t be directly compared to the Richards scenario.

Richards was washed up. That’s a fact. He directly helped us win one cup, and indirectly helped with the second cup. But he’s lost his game. He has virtually no value in the league. This may be complicated but hockey is a business. Shocked? I know, I was when I figured that out back in 1976 when Bobby Orr went to Chicago. The very fact that Richards’ contract was terminated means that the Kings, rightly or wrongly, felt that it was a MATERIAL breach. Not just a breach. That’s an important distinction and it’s one that will probably be contested (curiously, things are moving slow on that front but I digress). Material breach is decided by looking at a number of factors. Like 5 or 6. Could it be argued that VV’s breach was material? Yeah, you know what, probably. The benefit received by the Kings was zippo last year, so that’s a good argument.  On the other hand, another big factor in determining materiality is the likelihood that VV will perform the balance of the contract. That’s a HUGE factor, and, Achilles tendon issues aside for the moment, it weighs in VV’s favor. By contrast, it does not work in Richards’ favor.

So yeah, not as simple as, say, AM radio politics.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/03/15 at 10:38 AM ET

JimH's avatar

Oh, I’m aware it’s a simplistic analysis.  That’s what the internet is for - simplistic analysis and videos of cats.  It just really bothers me that we have two guys here, only one of whom has been charged and convicted of a crime, and it’s the guy who HASN’T been charged or convicted who has his contract terminated.  Not like Voynov, who was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.  With Richards, the Kings terminated him without waiting for anything—or at the very least, not waiting for the due process they allowed Voynov.  It just reeks of “Thank Christ - we have a way to get rid of him without penalty” as opposed to being about anything Richards has actually done in terms of his off-ice conduct.  And that’s what really bothers me.  Whether its true or not, it gives a very strong impression that the Kings don’t actually care about off-ice conduct, they just care whether or not they can use it to their advantage.

Posted by JimH from the International Space Station on 07/03/15 at 11:06 AM ET

Avatar

t just really bothers me that we have two guys here, only one of whom has been charged and convicted of a crime, and it’s the guy who HASN’T been charged or convicted who has his contract terminated.

The problem, though, is that you’re trying to connect two things that aren’t connected.

If Voyvov hadn’t been arrested he absolutely would still be a King.  No question.

If Richards hadn’t done what he may or may not have done, there’s a very good chance that he would still not be a King today.  Lombardi was trying to trade him at the draft and if he weren’t able to, he likely would’ve bought out Richards.

If they had been able to trade him and it came out that they knew about “what happened” with Richards, the team they traded him to would’ve had a legit grievance against the Kings.

What happened with Richards’ contract and, so far, with Voynov’s have been strictly hockey/cap decisions, not moral ones.

If they don’t want Voynov in a Kings sweater when he gets out of jail, he’s tradeable.  Richards, not yet even charged, but if he is you’ve got probably another “suspended by the league” situation and that means the Kings would’ve had $10M+ in dead cap space.

Posted by Garth on 07/03/15 at 11:29 AM ET

Avatar

Kings are not a team that particularly appeals to a working class, gritty community. The fan base is, on average, highly educated and often family-oriented, so there’s no question that Voynov’s continued presence on the team would create cognitive dissonance.

Wait. So you have to be upper class and highly educated to be family oriented? This indicates that working class people approve of domestic violence. Not a very good way to get your idea out there.

Posted by teldar on 07/03/15 at 12:51 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

While Voynov is still suspended by the league, the Kings cannot do anything with him. I think that’s what people don’t seem to understand. It doesn’t matter if the Kings want to do something, they can’t because you can’t release/buyout a suspended player.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 07/03/15 at 01:37 PM ET

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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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