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Voynov ‘knows that he can be better,’ says Lombardi

Oct 16, 2013, 8:28 PM EST

Slava Voynov Getty Images

After breaking out last year with a playoff scoring spree and then inking a six-year, $25 million extension, Slava Voynov knew he’d be facing big expectations for 2013-14.

So far, he hasn’t met them.

Voynov, the Kings’ 23-year-old defenseman, has struggled to start the season. While his offense has been OK — 1G, 1A through seven games — his defensive efforts haven’t been. He’s minus-2 on the year and was scrutinized during L.A.’s 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday for soft play on two Lightning goals.

“I think he knows that he can be better and that’s the most important thing,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi told the L.A. Times. “It’s a huge adjustment for a young player, to get a long-term deal that’s significant money. That’s just the reality of the way it is. It’s a huge adjustment for them and their life and life’s priorities.

“We tend to overlook that.”

Voynov finished last year’s playoffs with six goals and seven assists in 18 games. He also had 25 points — three more than the team’s top blue-liner, Drew Doughty — in 48 regular-season games, resulting in a huge raise that saw him go from earning $750,000 on his entry-level deal to $4.16 million annually on his new one.

As a result, there were whispers of complacency. Last week, Darryl Sutter called out Voynov’s lack of preparation, suggesting his offseason workouts were less than stellar.

“He could’ve done more work this summer,” Sutter told LA Kings Insider. “He’s going to have to do some more work to get his minutes back.”

On Tuesday, it looked like Voynov had done something to regain his time on ice. Sutter played the Russian rearguard over 25 minutes — a season high — and Voynov responded by scoring his first goal of the year.

  1. blomfeld - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    NOT TO WORRY FRIEND …

    It’s still ‘early days’ here and we haven’t yet decided upon our ‘overall’ plan of attack. So take your time, do that which you must and just ensure that you’re ready when the bugle call for ‘charge’ with sabers drawn is sounded ! :)

    GO KINGS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anoesis - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    To me the bottom line is that $25 million should allow you to focus on your job. Most people have lots of worries to distract them from their best effort, particularly worries about money and paying the bills.

    The big deal here seems to be finding a way to retain your competitiveness now that you don’t have to worry about your next contract. Voynov better figure that part out, because right now he looks like somebody who has relaxed due to having secured that fat contract.

    • ron05342 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      “To me the bottom line is that $25 million should allow you to focus on your job.”

      “Voynov better figure that part out, because right now he looks like somebody who has relaxed due to having secured that fat contract.”

      These two quotes show how very little you know about human nature. As a matter of fact, it indicates that you pretty much have a “black and white” view of the world.

      Additional salary puts MORE pressure on a person to perform, not less. We have seen it time and again, not only in sports, but everyday life, where someone who is basically performing the same job but with a dramatic increase in salary cannot perform as well as they did previously due to the additional pressure.

      Voynov is not “relaxing.” How can you possibly “relax” in ice hockey? To me, your statements are not-well-thought-out rubbish.

      And I have confidence Voynov will come around. Once he does “relax” off of the pressure he feels, he will be the player he was last season.

  3. surfoside4life - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    doughty is quite possibly the worst

    • ron05342 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Guess you just discounted your credibility about 95%.

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