Slava Voynov cap relief by NHL continues improv approach by league
Slava Voynov has been charged with a felony for domestic violence by the Los Angeles district attorney. The Kings have the salary cap relief they’ve desperately (and deservedly) needed. To quote former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain we have “peace for our time.”
There’s still a lot that we don’t know on so many levels, which is why Friday afternoon’s statement by the NHL – which is honestly a time when most organizations bury their bad news to avoid the news cycle – is in no way the end of this situation.
The biggest takeaway – and there are a lot of takeaways: Was the NHL’s decision indeed a retraction on what they had been saying during the entire situation?
Rich Hammond of the Orange County Register notes, the NHL basically said the Kings made the issue themselves. Seems Friday’s news is almost a take back of those comments.
“For a month, the league disagreed. On Monday, Commissioner Gary Bettman insinuated that the Kings had caused the problem and said the ‘integrity of the game’ required teams to abide by cap rules.
General Manager Dean Lombardi argued that other teams that had lost players to off-ice issues received cap relief. Most recently, Carter Ashton was suspended 20 games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and his salary was removed from Toronto’s cap total.”
In this case, Lombardi was right. Beyond the referenced Toronto,Philadelphia has been able to stash two basically retired defensemen on long term injury reserve.
Kimmo Timonen (blood clots) has gone on the record saying he will likely never play again, though apparently he's now working out alone in hopes of a return. Chris Pronger (post-concussion symptoms) is now working for the league, potentially up for the Hall of Fame next year, and is still on LTIR, which can enable the cash-rich Flyers to acquire players, not care about Pronger’s cap hit, but still pay him in the process.
Boston’s Marc Savard hasn’t played since the 2011 postseason – out with post-concussion syndrome, but he’s still on Boston’s long-term injured reserve list, giving the Bruins cap relief. He has also gone on the record saying he will never play again.
Is this East Coast bias? Who knows, but all three of these teams have ins with the league – the Flyers and Bruins to an incredible amount with their owners.
You have to give the NHL its props for not being judge, jury and executioner and continuing to allow Voynov to be paid while due process plays out. But this has been such a ‘fly by night’ approach by the league to a really strange case, does it set a new and different standard moving forward?
More than anything, the league needs to set a standard on-ice with its product for off-ice conduct. How should teams indeed be punished for the off-ice decisions of a player? More than player punishment this is a question that hasn’t been answered at all yet.
“Let's not kid ourselves here, other teams realize that they could have a player in a similar position down the road.”
Also Chamberlain’s statement proved wrong (it was spoken in Europe and in 1938, read a history book to find what happened next on that continent) and to be honest, we don’t have any resolution in the Voynov case.
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