Slava Voynov has played in the KHL [Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League] for the last three years, and is now taking part in the Olympic Athletes of Russia ice hockey team at the Winter Games, but his past NHL presence is still stirring up a lot of controversy.
And NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury found out quite quickly on Saturday. Milbury drew fire on social media for attempting to add his two cents about the former NHL player who was convicted of domestic abuse in 2014 and sentenced to 90 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse.
The dialogue between Kenny Albert began on the right page, but quickly went in the wrong direction. And fans across the world took notice.
“Here’s Voynov, who won two Stanley Cups with the Kings,” Albert began, summarizing Voynov’s history in Los Angeles neatly. “He was arrested on domestic violence charges, subsequently suspended by the National Hockey League, now playing in the KHL [Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League].”
To that, Milbury chimed in, “He left a huge void in the Los Angeles Kings’ defense, otherwise may have gone on to win more than the championships they did already. This guy was a special player, and an unfortunate incident left the Los Angeles Kings without a great defenseman.”
Milbury should not have used the term unfortunate - because his statement was more than unfortunate - it was completely wrong. See what was said of his choice of words right after his comments:
Milbury later defended his comment, saying he had supported Voynov’s suspension and was simply commenting on what his loss meant to the Kings at the time of his suspension:
“After my colleague laid out the facts about Voynov — which included being arrested, suspended by the NHL, and leaving the U.S. to return to Russia — I provided the on-ice impact of his being thrown out of the league,” he said in a statement emailed to The Post. “As I said at the time when he was suspended, the league made the right call, 100 percent.”
Voynov has not commented his suspensions and charges at the Olympics. One of his teammates chose to comment on the man and his play, without raising controversy on social media - unlike Milbury.
“I know that he’s a good player and obviously he deserves to be here,” teammate Mikhail Grigorenko told the Associated Press. “He’s one of our leaders on defense, so I’m not surprised he’s here. The around-hockey stuff, there’s people that decide that.”
What do you think of Milbury's comments?