In breaking news, it was announced today that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has suspended defenseman Slava Voynov for the entire 2019-20 NHL season, as well as the entire 2020 NHL Playoffs for his Domestic Violence charges back in 2014.
Voynov, who was suspended indefinitely back on October 20th, 2014, was charged with a felony charge of corporal injury to a spouse. While his wife defended him, Voynov would plead no contest to the charges and serve 90 days in jail and 3 years on probabtion. However, the conviction was expunged from his record thus opening the door for his potential return to the NHL.
In Bettman’s statement announcing Voynov’s year long suspension, he had the following to say:
Now many will want to compare this case to that of Auston Watson’s from earlier this season, but the two are completely separate cases. While what Watson did is wrong, the initial 27 game suspension was correct for him and his actions. For Voynov, we are talking about an individual who beat his wife bloodly and had her hospitalized. Voynov has been gone now for five seasons, and with this new suspension, will be banned from the League for a total of six years.
While I agree with the notion that Voynov should never play in the NHL ever again, when you look at this punishment that totals 6 years of his NHL career gone because of his actions, I’m ok with this being a one year suspension.
Now with that said there are some serious questions that need to be asked, and the first one that comes to everyone’s mind is will this be appealed? We’ve seen two suspensions shortened this season for Watson and Tom Wilson, but will we see one for Voynov? This is a very unprecedented event taking place, and the only thing I can think of that is remotely close to this is back in 2000 when Marty McSorley was suspended for his assault on Donald Brashear during a game that brought criminal charges. However, once McSorley’s suspension was doled out it effectively ended his career as he was nearing retirement at the time of his transgressions. If we get an appeal, it will be one of the most interesting cases that we will have upon us, but at this point and given the situation, an appeal should not be entertained.
Another question that is being asked is should any teams entertain the thought of signing Voynov? As mentioned earlier, Voynov will have been out of the NHL for 6 years come July 2020, and he has been playing in the KHL, but it’s not the same as playing in the NHL. Plus you have to look at any backlash that an organization may face just for even considering the notion of signing him. It’s a very slippery slope for any team to appraoch.
Lastly, a question that needs to be answered is will Voynov be allowed to play anywhere while he is suspended from the NHL for the 2019-20 season and playoffs? This is a very interesting topic, as normally when you are suspended you are not allowed to play, but Voynov is currently a free agent because of the Los Angeles Kings voiding his contract back in 2014. So will Voynov be allowed to play in say the American Hockey League or even back in Russia in the KHL? My assumption would be that he would not be allowed to play as he is in fact suspended, but only time will tell in that regard.
In my humble and honest opinion I agree with the suspension that has been doled out here today by Gary Bettman. Six years is a very long time to be away from the League, and by the time July 1st, 2020 comes around interest in Voynov could die completely and he just goes away.
Got any comments? Share away, but please do keep it civil.