Kings making adjustments in wake of Slava Voynov's suspension

BY foxsports • October 21, 2014

The Los Angeles Kings are down to only five healthy defensemen with the indefinite suspension of defenseman Slava Voynov that occurred Monday morning.

While the details of the case are still being dealt with by Voynov and the NHL, it's the hockey part of the situation that the team is immediately concerned with.

"Well, from a hockey standpoint, obviously we have to make some adjustments in terms of who plays where and who plays what and who plays how and for how long," said head coach Darryl Sutter. "We don't know."

The good news is that Jake Muzzin is close to returning and may do so as soon as Thursday, when the team next plays. Muzzin, who typically skates with Drew Doughty, will see a doctor Tuesday afternoon and is optimistic. 

"I'm getting close, maybe Thursday," Muzzin said. "I've just got to go see the doctor. Hopefully we get cleared, which I'm pretty sure we will. I feel good so I should be back soon, I hope."

Muzzin has been participating in most drills throughout the last week. He will likely skate again with Doughty and Brayden McNabb, who has been skating with Doughty in Muzzin's absence, could skate alongside veteran Robyn Regehr in place of Voynov.

"Jake has been a big part of of our team the last couple years," said Kings' captain Dustin Brown. "So to get him back, regardless of every other exterior situation, getting him back in the lineup is positive."

Off the ice, the issue isn't much of a distraction for a team with such tremendous chemistry.

"Obviously really concerned, not just from a hockey standpoint, but a personal standpoint," Sutter said. "We're pretty close as a team. It's not just 'team,' it's more of a family thing. We deal with distractions all the time. We've been able to handle a lot of adversity and pressure for three years now."

The organization has been cautious about incriminating Voynov before legal proceedings begin -- innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law and the league -- but the Kings have not hesitated to make their stance on the issue clear. Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi both believe that the NHL acted appropriately. 

"I'm sure you talk to your children about things like that," Sutter said. "A lot of these players are like children to me."

"I think given the current state of culture and society over the last year, (the punishment) makes sense," Brown said. "It's a pretty normal response."

"We've got to take care of our job as players in here. We need to keep the focus on the team and kind of let the legal part of it play itself out through the situation."



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