For the last two years defenseman Slava Voynov has been hoping for a return to the NHL.
Voynov was suspended indefinitely after being arrested on misdemeanour domestic violence charges back in 2014. He went through various court cases, did some jail time and eventually returned to Russia instead of going through deportation proceedings and the Kings terminated his contract.
He returned to the KHL and last year despite trying to return to the NHL sat out the year as a free agent before the NHL announced in April that he would be suspended for the entire 2019-20 season along with the 2020 playoffs.
He's not happy about it.
Like many former NHLers, Voynov opened up to Sport24 in Russia and explained how he wasn't happy with the NHL's decision and how he felt they kind of played him.
Here's some Google translated excerpts from the interview:
- Why didn’t you go to play last season in Russia? Did you believe that you can get to the NHL before the deadline?
- After the year before last, I decided that I would go to the NHL and just sit there and wait, and not run back and forth. I had many meetings with the league leadership, I did not think that they would be so dragged out with my decision. They also added my injury to this whole thing. I don’t understand why they did it! There are many questions left, but no offense, go further.
- The management of the NHL in personal communication did not say that the decision would be delayed for such a long time?
- There was no talk of any year. During the meeting, Gary Bettman asked me about expectations whether I would play hockey right away or if I would get some kind of disqualification. I said that, of course, some punishment awaited me, I was ready to be disqualified in 41 games. Then everything dragged on, I got this injury, they started some kind of investigation, which dragged on to the deadline.
- What was this investigation?
- I can tell only from my bell tower, it makes me smile exclusively. The investigation began in late August and lasted until February 25. They talked with my wife, with me, tried to find some witnesses who could not be. All this happened for six to seven months, after which they made a report. I thought that it would be “War and Peace” in volume, and there were only 20 pages on which each word contradicted the previous one. It immediately became clear to me that they deliberately dragged on time. The worst thing is that this could not be influenced, you just had to sit, wait and do what they ask.
“Have you had any lawyers in this matter?”
- Yes, the NHL union represented my interests. They hired lawyers, lawyers and oversaw the whole thing, but they could not force something and dictate terms. Together we did what we were told.