Nicholas J. Cotsonika
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Puck Daddy1 day ago
The Los Angeles Kings supported the NHL’s suspension of defenseman Slava Voynov after his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. But general manager Dean Lombardi also had a number of questions about the mechanics of the situation.
Voynov is suspended from team activities indefinitely with pay. So what is the timing of the NHL’s investigation? How does that relate to the criminal investigation? What is the impact on the Kings’ salary cap? The Kings have six healthy defensemen now that Jake Muzzin is ready to return to the lineup, but they have little cap room if someone gets hurt.
Team and league officials held a conference call Tuesday. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded to questions from Yahoo Sports in an e-mail Wednesday:
Q: Is there any more clarity on the timing? Will he remain suspended as long as the legal process plays out? Will the league hold a hearing — and make a determination — before that?Thu, Oct 237:30 PM PDTBuffalo at Los AngelesPreview Game
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Puck Daddy1 day ago
The lawyer for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov said he believes his client did not commit a crime and should be reinstated by the NHL.
Voynov was suspended from team activities indefinitely with pay Monday after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence by Redondo Beach police. He has not been charged. Police are investigating.
Craig Renetzky, Voynov’s lawyer, said he interviewed the woman involved for more than an hour Tuesday with his own interpreter and his own investigator. Renetzky said Voynov was not present at the interview, but he and the woman are currently together again. He said his client had not spoken to the NHL yet.
In short, Renetzky confirmed the woman was injured. But he said it was an accident and Voynov did not hit her. He said a language barrier led to miscommunication when police spoke to the woman at the hospital. He declined to give details.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum sits in suburban Uniondale, N.Y., surrounded by a vast parking lot. Birds fly in the rafters near banners commemorating the glory days of the early ’80s – four Stanley Cups, six retired numbers. The showers in the dressing room take a long time to heat up.
Too often, the old barn hasn’t been full. Too often, the New York Islanders haven’t given fans a reason to come – screwy owners, crazy contracts, horrible hockey. Fourteen out of the last 19 seasons, the Isles have missed the playoffs. Not since 1993 have they won a playoff round.
So much of the focus is on the future – new ownership, up-and-coming players, the move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn next fall – and it should be. Still, there is one more season to play at Nassau, and this is a team that wants to make noise now. Literally.
Only three members of the current roster were alive the last time the Islanders won the Cup. These guys don’t know what Nassau used to be like. But enough of them know what it was like in May 2013, when the Islanders appeared in the playoffs for the first time in six years and put a scare into the Pittsburgh Penguins in a six-game first-round series.Thu, Oct 234:00 PM PDTNY Islanders at BostonPreview Game
NHL's indefinite suspension of Slava Voynov: It's the right call – and the only way to go – after NFL criticismNicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Good. The NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov indefinitely after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. It was the right move. It was the only move.
The NHL knew a woman suffered injuries so severe she needed treatment at a hospital. The NHL knew Voynov was with her at the hospital and taken into custody there. The NHL also knew, of course, the criticism the NFL received for failing to act swiftly and stiffly enough to address incidents of domestic violence.
So at 10:32 a.m. ET on Monday – or 7:32 a.m. PT, about two-and-a-half hours before Voynov was even released from jail on $50,000 bond – the NHL issued a statement. It not only announced the suspension, it broke the news of the arrest. The NHL beat TMZ.
That’s how you send the message that domestic violence is unacceptable. That’s how you get in front of a story and come off as proactive, not reactive. That’s how you keep Gary Bettman from becoming another Roger Goodell. If it was because of the NFL PR nightmare – in whole or in part – fine. At least someone learned something and it led to real progress.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s Three Periods column appears on Thursdays. This week’s topics include a “major” change by Zdeno Chara, the real-world impact of the Canadiens’ leadership change and notes on Daniel Alfredsson, Tyler Myers, Brian Campbell, Dallas Eakins, Jason Spezza, Scott Hartnell & more.
FIRST PERIOD: Zdeno Chara makes ‘major’ change as he tries to remain a force
Zdeno Chara came up with a plan after the Boston Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs. General manager Peter Chiarelli said he decided to “tweak his training.” Chara said he did more than tweak it.
“The summer,” Chara said, “was major.”
Chara has always worked hard. He has had to. He is 6-foot-9, and this is hockey, not basketball. His size is a disadvantage as much as an advantage. He turned himself from a project drafted in the third round into a winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman.
Now he has to work differently. He has to move his 255 pounds in a game that is getting faster and faster, and he has to stop – or at least slow – the inevitable decline of every athlete. He’s 37 years old.
Up to now, much of the focus has been on fatigue.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Come on. No way. They wrapped sandpaper around the edges of pucks, put a match in a vise on the goal line and stationed Tyler Seguin in front. The Dallas Stars center fired a puck inches off the ice, just to the right of the vise, so the sandpaper scraped the match head and lit a flame.
Out of all the trick shots Seguin and Jamie Benn did with YouTube sensation Dude Perfect – firing at bowling pins and a mannequin head and a target between a guy’s legs, scoring on a goalie with a big rubber duck and a small pumpkin and a partially eaten doughnut – that might have been the most unbelievable.
They shot the video over two days in early September, before training camp. The video was posted at 5 p.m. CT Monday, and it had more than a half-million viewers in 24 hours. One of them was Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, who made his own video a year agoin which he displayed some sick stickhandling, then flipped the puck on his blade … and faked hitting the camera.
Kane sent Seguin a text message.
“Is all that stuff real?” Kane asked.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
Well, this wasn’t a PR move. That’s for sure.
As soon as the news broke Wednesday that Chris Pronger could join the department of player safety, critics howled. Pronger was suspended eight times in his NHL career. He was still being paid by the Philadelphia Flyers. A dirty player with a conflict of interest seemed like a poor addition to the group charged with cleaning up the game.
But this shouldn’t be about PR. And Pronger has never been about PR. And that’s one of the reasons he’s perfect for this job.
“To be honest with you, the way I played, I didn’t care if people liked me,” Pronger told Yahoo Sports late Friday after he officially joined the DPS. “As long as the guys in the room respect you and they’re willing to follow you, I don’t care what anybody else thinks, because you’re trying to win.
“At the end of the day, being in the player safety department is like being a referee. It’s a thankless job. Everybody hates you because you’re never going to do enough. I’m already hated.”
“I’ve got enough friends. I don’t need any more. Like me. Don’t like me. I’m not doing this because I’m trying to appease people.”
Why is he doing this?
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
DETROIT — He came last. He walked down the tunnel with his team lined up before him. As he was introduced before Thursday night’s opener at Joe Louis Arena, his name flickered in laser light at center ice, all caps – MIKE BABCOCK – right above the word “HOCKEYTOWN” and the Detroit Red Wings logo. The fans cheered. He waved.
Was it hello? Or the beginning of goodbye?
It will be entirely up to him.
This is fact: Babcock is in the final year of his contract. He and general manager Ken Holland spoke about an extension in May or June. They went away for the summer without a deal, partly because Holland was in the final year of his contract and waiting on an extension of his own. Holland signed a four-year extension in August.
Babcock and Holland talked again in September. They are not actively negotiating at this point. That does not mean they won’t talk during the season – even though they won’t talk about it publicly now that the puck has dropped.
Repeatedly, Babcock has said he is in no rush, is not worried, is happy in Detroit, has a good relationship with Holland and knows the grass isn’t always greener. Yet he hasn’t signed.Thu, Oct 234:30 PM PDTPittsburgh at DetroitPreview Game
Maple Leafs lose first game of Brendan Shanahan era, but Toronto's new boss focused on bigger thingsNicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
TORONTO — Brendan Shanahan will tell you he doesn’t remember his first NHL game as much as his second. The first was a blur. The second was in Toronto, his hometown. Here he was, an 18-year-old kid. On Friday night, he slipped away from the New Jersey Devils and met his buddies at a high school dance. On Saturday night, he sat on the bench, heard his line called, watched his teammates coming off – and realized he was about to step onto the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens.
“This,” he thought, “is real.”
So imagine how he felt about the NHL 2014-15 season opener on Wednesday night. Here he was, a 45-year-old man, the new president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. At Yonge-Dundas Square, thousands gathered to see old Leafs like Wendel Clark, listen to The Tragically Hip and watch the game on big screens. At Air Canada Centre, the 48th Highlanders marched, banging their drums, blowing their bagpipes. A video montage celebrated Toronto as the “Center of the Hockey Universe.” The fans sang “O Canada,” and then the Leafs started their 98th season with a deflating 4-3 loss when the Montreal Canadiens scored with 42.9 seconds to go.
This is real.