In three short, definitive sentences the Kings did the right thing and distanced themselves from Slava Voynov by saying the Russian defenseman will not play for them again, even though an arbitrator on Thursday made him eligible to return to the NHL midway through next season.
Reading the team’s statement took only a few seconds, far less time than it took for Voynov to beat his wife bloody in a physical altercation that started at a Halloween party in 2014, an incident that was not a first-time offense, according to an account in the police report given by a nurse who treated Voynov’s wife, Marta Varlamova.
As an organization the Kings haven’t gotten many decisions right lately. With three definitive sentences in a statement that was not attributed to a specific person, the Kings made an important decision and took the correct path.
“Today the NHL arbitrator rendered a final decision on further discipline to Slava Voynov,” the statement said. “From our perspective, the player will not be playing for the Kings. We will now determine the impact of the arbitrator’s decision on our rights to the player and consider our options going forward.”
The Kings terminated Voynov’s contract but are believed to have retained his NHL rights while he was on the voluntary retired list, although it’s unclear what that means and what they can do with those rights.
They could have opted to sign him to a new contract after independent arbitrator Shyam Das on Thursday upheld NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to suspend Voynov for the 2019-20 season but amended the terms to credit Voynov with having served 41 games of the 82-game season. Because of that ruling, Voynov is eligible to return at the midpoint of the season, which usually falls in late December or early January. Voynov will be 30 on Jan. 15.