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Kings' Dean Lombardi frustrated by NHL's stance on salary-cap issue

Kings' Dean Lombardi frustrated by NHL's stance on salary-cap issue
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi speaks during the team's Stanley Cup championship rally at Staples Center in June. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Dean Lombardi is annoyed.

In fact, the Kings' General Manager has been mostly angered, feeling that the team is being punished by not getting salary-cap relief. Kings defenseman Slava Voynov remains suspended indefinitely by the NHL but is still getting paid and his $4.1-million salary still counts against the cap.

The Kings were a player short last month in Philadelphia, and more recently were short one defenseman because of injuries and the salary-cap limbo.

In three days, it will be a month since Voynov was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. No charges have been filed. A development in the case could come Tuesday. Or next week.

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Lombardi used the word "dysfunctional" to describe the system in an interview last week with Times columnist Helene Elliott.

Then NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered his views on the salary-cap issue, speaking to reporters in Toronto on Monday, echoing some of the comments he has made on conference calls with Lombardi during talks to try to find a solution.

"Every team has to manage its salary cap, right?" Bettman said in a SportsNet news story. "It's just the way it works."

Lombardi responded with a "return volley" Monday afternoon, via email to The Times.

"[Bettman] says issue of cap relief not warranted and is just cap management," Lombardi said. "I need to create some space in case [a player] robs a bank."

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