“This was clearly a mistake on our part and we accept full responsibility.  It is incumbent upon us to be more vigilant in managing this situation to ensure that Slava’s allowable training activities always remain separate from the team.”

 

That’s what the LA Kings said after the NHL dinged them Tuesday for allowing Slava Voynov, suspended after his legal troubles of the past little while, to participate in an optional skate with the team.

 

Like nobody was going to notice. Mistake?

 

This is a junior high school prank. “Oh, we didn’t realize. Sorry.” How can that be? It’s hard to believe that the team could be this unvigilant, which isn’t a word as far as I know, but should be.

 

Heck, if this whole thing of the league suspending Voynov while he awaits what legal types call “the resolution of his case,” is about NFL backwash, as many people believe, then the least the team could do is respect the smoke and mirrors program that the NHL has put into place and not create trouble for themselves.

 

Apparently, somebody’s not on board with that, and either they got completely lazy, thought they were above the law, or figured that the chance to put it in the face of the league (for what reason is anyone’s guess) was worth the consequences. Those, for a huge financial entity like AEG, don’t amount to much, I suppose, though a hundred thousand bucks would go a long way to putting a good math teacher in a local high school, for example.

 

Perhaps, the team is sending a signal that they will accept Voynov back as soon as he is cleared to play. That would quiet talk amongst fans in the past couple of weeks that Lombardy, as a super-moral guy, would feel compelled to send Voynov packing to another team to avoid the stigma of employing someone accused of battery. But that’s just a guess, and you’re free to ignore it if you like.

 

What you can’t ignore is that the team, via this mistake (or whatever it was), has put the Voynov case back on the front page. The whole thing is ugly and sad, for him, for her, and for the Kings. But they need to put their thinking caps on and prevent any hint of impropriety from this moment on.

 

That is, after they take their dunce caps off. And those, in my opinion, need to stay firmly lodged in place for a good, long time.

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