The Los Angeles Kings are blowing their cover. In previous seasons, the Kings never seemed terribly interested in blowing the doors off the NHL during the regular season, instead being content to watch teams raise their division championship and President’s Trophy banners while they hoisted a Stanley Cup pennant.
That’s all changed in 2014-15. The Kings are taking the regular season seriously in the early going and are steamrolling their way through the league. If this keeps up, expect to see them at or near the top of thn.com’s Power Rankings for most of the season. (Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.) Read more
Nick Foligno is thanking his lucky stars Sunday night. The Blue Jackets right winger escaped serious injury after being taken off the ice on a stretcher due to an unusual collision with linesman Shane Heyer during the third period of Columbus’ game against the L.A. Kings.
Foligno was skating the puck up the ice along the boards and had his head down when he collided at an awkward angle with the lower back area of Heyer, who had jumped up on the boards in an attempt to avoid contact with players. The 26-year-old fell to the ice immediately and laid motionless for several minutes before he was removed from the ice strapped to a spinal board: Read more
Not that there was much doubt in the matter, but with his 33rd career shutout on Thursday night, Jonathan Quick grabbed the franchise record for goose eggs and firmly cemented himself as the best netminder in Los Angeles Kings history.
(NOTE: This post has been updated. See below.)
A spokesman for the Redondo Beach Police Department refutes the notion that there was no crime committed during the incident allegedly involving Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov Sunday night. He also said Voynov could know his fate as early as Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it’s not a given that the league will reinstate Voynov in time for him to play with the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres even if charges are not filed against Voynov. “No,” Daly wrote in an email to thn.com. “I don’t think that is fair to assume. We are certainly going to want to satisfy ourselves with respect to the facts and circumstances before any thought would be given to lifting the suspension.” Read more
The lawyer for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov said he interviewed the victim of Voynov’s alleged domestic abuse incident for more than an hour Tuesday and, “it’s clear to me there was no crime here,” and doubts his client will even be charged with an offense.
Craig Renetzky, a criminal lawyer who is representing Voynov in the matter, said the language barrier, both on the part of Voynov and the alleged victim, has created a misunderstanding and that the victim’s injuries that caused her to be hospitalized were the result of an accident. Voynov was arrested early Monday morning at a Los Angeles area hospital after staff at the hospital notified police of a possible domestic abuse case. Voynov was immediately suspended indefinitely by the NHL, but has yet to be charged with anything pending a police investigation. Read more
It’s a very small sample size, but if Tanner Pearson continues the torrid pace he’s set through the first six games of the season, a replica of the Calder Trophy will be sitting on his mantle next summer.
And this begs two questions. The first is: Why on Earth doesn’t Darryl Sutter play him more? And the second is: Is it fair that Pearson is eligible for the Calder Trophy in the first place? Read more
The big news in the prospect world right now concerns the class-action lawsuit filed against the CHL and without going into too much detail, I think this could have a dramatic effect on junior hockey. With profits and losses so extreme across the continent, I believe a minimum wage policy would have to be supported by revenue sharing. But let’s get back on the ice, shall we? Because that’s what The Hot List is, a round-up of the kids we can’t wait to see in the NHL one day.
The NHL gets a good deal of criticism from this corner, but giving the league credit where due has never been an issue. And when it came down swiftly in regard to domestic violence charges against Slava Voynov – suspending the L.A. Kings defenseman indefinitely – the NHL did exactly what was required. Voynov will have his day in court to defend himself, but the league cannot permit anyone in its employ to remain on the job while accused of such a heinous offense. And although it’s the NHL Players’ Association’s duty to represent its members, it’s difficult to envision them not working with team owners to craft more punitive measures for those players who hurt women.
That said, this new case of domestic violence should show the NHL that, contrary to what commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this month – “our players know what’s right and wrong” – it isn’t immune from any societal ill. There’s nothing separating NHLers from any other demographic. They are not inherently better than any other group of athletes or people walking the face of the earth. And that’s why they need to be informed, in the strongest possible terms, that under no circumstances will they be permitted to strike a woman without severe consequences befalling them.
How does the league achieve that? A lifetime ban for a first convicted offense would get players’ attention and send a message to women that they are respected as equals and are deserving of basic human dignities and protections. Read more