Even with trial looming, Slava Voynov remains in limbo

Ken Campbell
Slava Voynov (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s still to be determined whether the domestic assault trial for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov will begin as scheduled Monday or be delayed by a week, and even if Voynov is found guilty, nobody seems certain when he’ll be able to play again.

As GMs are scouring the league for the final available talent before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, Voynov is expected to be in court for the first day of what is expected to be a five-day trial on a felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury. But there may be a delay in the proceedings by a week, owing to the fact that deputy district attorney Frank Dunnick lobbied during a pre-trial conference this week to have the trial delayed by one week because he is working on another case. Read more

Clarkson-for-Horton trade a legal, and brilliant, circumvention of the salary cap

Ken Campbell
Nathan Horton  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

So much for the untradeable player with the unmovable contract. That species of player, thought to be alive and well in the salary cap era, does not exist. In fact, he never has because GMs such as David Nonis and Jarmo Kekalainen can cook up deals like the one they did Thursday afternoon.

In swapping the ill-suited and much maligned David Clarkson for the seriously and likely permanently injured Nathan Horton, Nonis and Kekalainen conspired to help each other out of contractual straitjackets that were paralyzing their rosters. This deal was so much more than just swapping one bad contract for another one. Read more

Mike Richards will actually make more money playing in the minors

Ken Campbell
Mike Richards (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

If things go swimmingly well for Mike Richards, he won’t even have to take one trip on the old iron lung. The Manchester Monarchs of the American League don’t have a road game until a week from Friday and even then, it’s only a 100-mile ride to Providence.

And there’s a chance everything will be cleared up for Richards by that time and he’ll be back in the NHL. Since the Los Angeles Kings put Richards on waivers earlier this week, he has been the subject of considerable trade speculation. The only problem is that Richards’ trade value is currently at an all-time low. In order for the Kings to deal him now, not only would they have to eat salary, they might even have to give their trading partner an asset to do the deal. Read more

L.A. Kings place Mike Richards on waivers. Who will grab him?

Matt Larkin
Mike Richards' cap hit and term make it highly unlikely any team claims him. (Getty Images)

The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings fed the NHL a harsh dose of reality less than 24 hours after the league displayed its silliest side at the All-Star Game.

The Kings placed center Mike Richards on waivers Monday, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Yes, that Mike Richards, the world junior champion, the 2010 gold medallist, the two-time Stanley Cup winner. Richards had appeared in many recent trade rumors, most commonly involving Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, but the Kings reportedly could not find a taker. It’s not exactly a shocker no team wanted to give up something to acquire Richards, 29, at a $5.75-million cap hit for five more seasons after this one. He is nowhere near the player he was as a Philadelphia Flyer, and it appears he’s even lost a step since last season. Richards has sputtered to 15 points in 47 games, he’s won fewer than half his faceoffs, and it’s fair to wonder if Kings GM Dean Lombardi regrets not using a compliance buyout on Richards this past off-season. The euphoria of a second championship in three years understandably clouded his judgment.

As per the new(ish) collective bargaining agreement, the Kings can’t fully “bury” Richards’ contract for full relief from his cap hit. If he clears waivers, they will only save $925,000. They obviously hope some team claims Richards.

The question is – does any team have the stones to blow that much cap space on Richards? Re-entry waivers no longer exist, meaning the claiming team must take on his full cap hit and term. Richards still has some value to a contending team, as he’s still a plus in the possession game and he’s a winner who elevates his game in the post-season. But that may not matter at his price.

Read more

Time for star players to step up because NHL prepared to ditch Olympics

Ken Campbell
Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – Now is the time for the best players in the NHL to stand up the way they do when the Stanley Cup is on the line. Because if they don’t push the issue on Olympic participation, the NHL will be more than happy to trash the entire concept.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced the details of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will be played in Toronto Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016. Both sides spoke of the event in glowing terms and there was much singing from the same songbook. That’s because both sides stand to gain a mother lode of money from a World Cup. The profits for the event are split 50-50 between the NHLPA and the league, meaning they will not be part of Hockey Related Revenues and will have no bearing on the salary cap. Each side is free to take its money and do with it whatever it wants. Read more

Steven Stamkos likely to stay in Tampa as NHL’s highest earner

Ken Campbell
Steven Stamkos (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

As of today, it’s looking more like Steven Stamkos is going to remain a member of the Tampa Bay Lighting for a long, long time. The only question now is whether or not he’ll sign the richest eight-year contract in NHL history this summer and become the league’s highest-paid player.

Stamkos, who has in the past been a little coy about his future with the Lightning, was a definitive as he’s ever been about his contract status. In fact, he set off something of a social media firestorm this summer when he retweeted a tweet from Adam Proteau suggesting Stamkos follow the lead of LeBron James and sign with his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stamkos’s deal with the Lightning expires after next season, but he and the Lightning can announce a contract extension as early as July 1. And that’s clearly what Stamkos wants to do at this point. Read more

Suspend him o̶r̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶: Brad Marchand’s slew-foot on Derick Brassard

Adam Proteau
Brad Marchand (Getty Images)

Brad Marchand is no stranger to the NHL’s supplemental discipline process. The Bruins winger also isn’t unfamiliar with being accused of slew-footing one of his opponents. So when Marchand did exactly that Thursday – this time, to Rangers star Derick Brassard – there’s no doubt he deserves to be hauled before the NHL department of player safety and hit with a significant suspension for undeniably reckless play.

Marchand and Brassard were chasing the puck into the corner in Boston, and Marchand clearly kicks out Brassard’s right foot just before he crashed into the boards in a sequence that easily could’ve resulted in a broken leg for the Blueshirts center: Read more

NHLPA boss Don Fehr: owners likely to lock out players again

Adam Proteau
Donald Fehr (Bruce Bennett)

There are still another seven seasons remaining in the NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement and the league’s business is booming to the point of serious and public expansion discussion. But as far as NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr is concerned, once the CBA ends after the 2021-22 campaign, the league’s labor history will repeat in the most unfortunate of ways.

That’s right. Prepare yourself for another lockout.

“If you put baseball to the side where there’s no cap, I don’t see anything yet which suggests any of the other three (North American) leagues are likely to break out of the phenomenon of a lockout every time, because a salary cap produces that phenomenon on the management side,” Fehr told THN Wednesday in an interview for a feature that appears in THN’s upcoming People of Power And Influence special edition. “(Owners) think they’ve got nothing to lose: “Let’s just go see what happens, and maybe we’ll get a little bit more.”

The 66-year-old Fehr – who has made an art out of eloquently keeping his cards close to the vest – discussed a wide array of topics for the feature, including NHLers potentially dealing with gambling and other temptations while playing in Las Vegas (“Lots of people live in Las Vegas and obey the law,”), the recent mumps outbreak and concussion protocols, and the prospect of independent doctors evaluating injured players (as opposed to the team doctors who currently have that job). Read more