Slava Voynov practiced with the Kings on Tuesday at their morning skate in advance of their game against Boston.
D'Oh ... says Homer Simpson.
And the NHL quickly fined them $100,000.
Per the league:
"Voynov skated with teammates today during a Club practice. Such activity is in direct contravention of the terms of the suspension levied Oct. 20, which permit Mr. Voynov to use club facilities and work with team personnel but prohibit his participation in any team-related functions or activities."
And as reporters' confusion and misstatements by general manager Dean Lombardi led to more confusion, on his player who had been suspended indefinitely for domestic violence, and eventually criminally charged, that he had been reinstated by the NHL, it came out that it was an 'optional' morning skate. It just happened to include the entire team per multiple media sources at the event.
The ever wordy Darryl Sutter explained the situation to LA Kings Insider, Jon Rosen:
“It was an optional skate and everybody went,” Sutter said. “He’s supposed to come out after with the injured guys, right after practice. Everybody went today…”
“It was an optional skate, and normally he goes out with injured players after practice or by himself after practice. Today he was out there early.”
And as Rosen points out in his piece:
"All players on the team’s roster participated in the morning skate in advance of Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins."
Good on Rosen, who is also employed by the Kings, but is an independent reporter, for showing that there's some fuzzy math indeed going on in Los Angeles.
In an email to the Orange County Register on Nov. 11, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said:
"(Voynov) is prohibited only from participating in team activities..."
Clearly this still held true, despite the Kings best efforts to try to cover it up. As notes Los Angeles Times writer Lisa DIllman the Kings "explained" the Voynov situation to the league. And the league decided to act -- albeit lightly.
The question is why did this all happen?
Los Angeles knew he was suspended and couldn't partake in team activities? Did the league give them the OK and then retract? That's always a possibility. What is $100,000 to a global behemoth like the Kings that's worth $580 million? Really...
The NHL's decisions on Voynov have generally been reactionary to the NFL's epic botching of how it handled former Baltimore running back Ray Rice in his domestic violence situation -- decisions which were legally proved wrong when an arbitrator ruled Rice eligible to play football again on Nov. 28. So it would be quite easy to surmise, when Voynov was on the ice initially and based on Lombardi's misstatements, that the NHL had given the Kings the greenlight.
Perhaps, but here's another theory.
Lombardi is definitely one to tell the league 'screw off' when he feels like it. His arguing enabled Los Angeles to finally get the salary cap relief it deserved. Maybe this was just another way he could visibly joust the league.
To quote paraphrase the movie "A Few Good Men" we want the truth.
UDATE: The Kings released a statement. It is below...
"This was clearly a mistake on our part and we accept full responsibility. It is incumbent upon us to be more vigilant in managing this situation to ensure that Slava’s allowable training activities always remain separate from the team.”
Again, something here just seems totally fishy. Also note, this wouldn't be the first time the Kings were fined for something they knew was wrong. Note when Dean Lombardi ripped Mike Murphy ... to his own website. Where are David Caruso and his sunglasses when you need him -- on so many levels.
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