NHL fines Kings $100,000 for violating terms of Voynov suspension

The NHL came down hard on the Kings for allowing suspended Slava Voynov to practice. (USATSI)
The NHL came down hard on the Kings for allowing suspended Slava Voynov to practice. (USATSI)

The NHL has fined the Los Angeles Kings $100,000 for violating the terms of Slava Voynov's suspension after the defenseman skated with the team in what was termed as an optional skate Tuesday. Voynov is still under an indefinite suspension with pay stemming from an October arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Voynov pleaded not guilty to one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury at his arraignment Monday. He is expected to have a hearing regarding the case on Dec. 15.

According to reports, Voynov was on the ice with the team Tuesday for the Kings morning skate ahead of their game against the Boston Bruins. Per reports, all healthy players were on the ice, despite the optional nature of the practice.

Voynov has been allowed to skate with a coach on his own, but participation in team functions regardless of whether they are optional or not has been prohibited.

Here’s the NHL’s statement on the fine:

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.

Voynov has been under suspension with pay since his arrest the morning of Oct. 20. His appearance in practice despite still remaining suspended made the league look bad and now that the Kings have been fined, it makes the team look worse for letting this happen.

Allowing a player to participate in a team function no less than 24 hours after his arraignment on domestic violence charges and still under league suspension is at best questionable on the Kings’ part. Perhaps it was some kind of misunderstanding, but even if that’s the case, this is a careless act that has opened the Los Angeles organization up to a mountain of criticism and due scorn.

It will be interesting to see where this goes next and really makes you wonder what the motivation was on the Kings' part to let this happen.

UPDATE: The Kings have responded to the NHL's fine with a statement:

“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.”

Head coach Darryl Sutter told Rosen that Voynov jumped on the ice earlier than he was supposed to (via LA Kings Insider):

"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.”

It's a pretty big mistake to let the guy who was in a court room about 24 hours earlier onto the ice with the entire team. The Kings' statement was a contrite one and maybe they weren't blantantly trying to test the rules, but they would appear to have a lot more explaining to do.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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