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After Voynov suspension, Lombardi wonders if teams need a ‘cushion’ in case a player is a ‘bank robber, kleptomaniac’

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Media Day

Dean Lombardi

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Almost a month has passed since Slava Voynov was arrested for domestic assault and suspended indefinitely by the NHL, and still the situation, which has been called “dysfunctional” by Kings GM Dean Lombardi, lacks clarity.

Will the Kings get Voynov back this season? Will they ever get him back?

At the very least, will they get some cap relief?

Yesterday, per the O.C. Register, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman struck a somewhat unsympathetic tone when he told reporters in Toronto, ''Every team has to manage its salary cap, right? It’s just the way it works. … The integrity of the game requires teams to comply with the salary cap.”

To which Lombardi responded, rather acerbically, “As this case makes clear, we must now do one and/or two things. We must build in a cushion in case one of our players is a bank robber, kleptomaniac, etc.

“The seemingly better alternative is, we have to do a better job of educating our players and, in particular, monitoring our players away from the rink. While monitoring them away from the rink may have the Orwellian connotation of `Big Brother’ oversight, that is the nature of the sports business in the cap era.”

You’ll forgive Lombardi’s impatience with the situation. The Kings are really missing Voynov’s minutes. On Saturday, Drew Doughty played a season-high 32:21 versus the Ducks, and that’s not something coach Darryl Sutter wants “over the long haul.”


"[Voynov’s] legal situation continues to be somewhat uncertain,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said yesterday, per the Canadian Press. “We’re kind of waiting to see if there are developments there, but there’s no certainty there will be before the beginning part of December. We’re kind of playing it day-by-day.”