Slava Voynov's suspension reduced after NHLPA appeal

Slava Voynov will only miss 41 games of the upcoming NHL season after his suspension was reduced following an NHLPA appeal.

The league announced Thursday the arbitrator’s decision, which will allow Voynov to return at the mid-point of the 2019-20 season.

“Taken in its totality, we are satisfied that Arbitrator Das’ decision supports our strongly held views that the conduct engaged in by Mr. Voynov in this case was completely unacceptable and worthy of significant League-imposed discipline,” the league said in a statement. “The decision also confirms and reaffirms the Commissioner’s broad authority under the CBA and applicable League Rules to establish — and to enforce — appropriate standards of conduct for individuals involved in the National Hockey League.”

The arbitrator granted Voynov “credit for time served” citing “highly unusual facts and circumstances.”

“Arbitrator Das described his decision to grant Mr. Voynov some ‘credit for time served’ for a portion of the 2018/19 season as being due to various ‘highly unusual facts and circumstances (which) were not contemplated by the drafters of (the CBA) and do not easily fit into its procedures.’ While we do not believe Mr. Voynov was entitled to any ‘credit’ for time missed during 2018/19 season, we accept Arbitrator Das’ conclusion that the precise factual context here was unusual — including the fact Voynov has not played in the NHL since October 2014, and that he did not play professional hockey at all during the 2018/19 season.”

Voynov, who began his NHL career with the Kings in 2011, pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor charge after an altercation with his wife on Oct. 19, 2014. A police report alleged that he choked Marta Varlamova with both hands, repeatedly pushed her to the ground and kicked her five to six times while she was on the ground.

Voynov was initially suspended indefinitely by the NHL the morning following his arrest. The Kings terminated his six-year, $25 million contract before placing him on their voluntary retirement list.

The Kings released a statement shortly after the arbitrator’s decision. 

“From our perspective, the player will not be playing for the Kings,” the team said . “We will now determine the impact of the arbitrator’s decision on our rights to the player and consider our options going forward.”

Voynov spent 90 days in jail after his guilty plea.

After his release from jail, he voluntarily left the United States, avoiding proceedings with U.S. immigration authorities, and spent three seasons in Russia’s KHL.

He also was part of a gold-medal-winning Russian hockey team at the 2018 Olympics.

Voynov is not currently signed to an NHL team.