One of the NHL teams hit by the mumps outbreak is north of the border right now ... potentially exposing opponents to the virus -- but Canadian health officials are pretty damn laid back about the risk.
As we previously reported -- players from the Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, NY Rangers, and NJ Devils ... have come down with mumps in recent weeks. The Ducks played Tuesday night in Toronto ... and are taking on the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night.
TMZ Sports spoke to the Montreal Dept. of Public Health, and shockingly ... officials say they haven't reached out to their hometown team, or any visiting teams to discuss preventing the spread of the virus.
Health officials in Winnipeg -- where the Jets are getting ready for a road trip to play the Wild -- gave us a similar response.
Mumps -- a painful swelling of the salivary glands -- spreads fairly easily from coughing, sneezing or kissing ... and enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Meanwhile, the NHL seems to be doing its part -- sending all 30 teams a memo with tips on dealing with the outbreak.
Slava Voynov's Wife
Blames Herself & Begs D.A.
My Husband is No Ray Rice
12/15/2014 9:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
NHL star Slava Voynov's wife pleaded with prosecutors to drop the felony domestic violence case against him because if people like Ray Rice didn't go to jail ... Slava shouldn't either.
TMZ Sports obtained a letter sent by Slava's wife, Marta Varlamova, to the L.A. County District Attorney in November ... and in it she takes all the blame for the argument which she says started during a party at a friend's house where she was drinking -- but continued when they got home.
She claims Voynov was trying to go to sleep, but she kept pressing the issue and got physical ... squeezing his shoulders and yelling, "No, I want to talk more." Marta says he only pushed her when she refused to get out of his face. That's when -- as we've previously reported -- she claims she turned and smashed her head into a flat screen TV in their bedroom.
In the letter, she describes how profusely she was bleeding and says, "I started yelling because it hurt quite a bit and I was very worried about whether I was going to need stitches and worried about how it would look." She says they decided to go to the ER around 11:30 PM.
Marta, whose first language is Russian ... claims she repeatedly told a police officer Slava did not try to kill her, and she was not afraid of him. As we've told you ... she and Slava believe the officer did not understand her because her English is so poor.
In fact, during a hearing Monday ... police testified the she had said Voynov punched, kicked and choked her. So, it appears there was a communication gap ... or someone's lying.
Marta ends the letter by pointing out she's "heard about other athletes on the news" who did things that Slava didn't ... yet they were not charged. She's clearly referring to Ray Rice ... who got a pretrial intervention program instead of being prosecuted for punching his then-fiancee.
Despite her objection ... Voynov has been charged with felony domestic violence.
Pittsburgh Penguins Player
Might Have Mumps
And He Might Have Given It to a Bunch of Sick Kids
12/15/2014 1:42 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A children's hospital in Pittsburgh is dealing with a possible outbreak of the mumps ... which might have been caused by an NHL player who paid a visit recently to cheer up some sick kids.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are dealing with a mumps outbreak that has hit the NHL -- star player Sidney Crosby has it and winger Beau Bennett has shown symptoms and is being tested.
That would be bad enough, but Bennett was one of the players who visited the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh last week ... so now the hospital is taking all sorts of precautions.
A rep for the hospital tells TMZ Sports they are in the process of ID'ing who came in contact with Bennett so they can start administering vaccines ... and will even place some kids in isolation, if need be just to be safe.
The hospital says they'll be doing the same with the staff as well.
We Screwed Up!
Slava's Gotta Stay Away
12/2/2014 1:52 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Kings reacted to the $100,000 fine the NHL laid on the team today, saying ... “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.”
Slava was suspended after his October arrest for allegedly beating up his wife. As we told you ... he pled not guilty yesterday, but participated in a team practice today -- a violation of his suspension.
The Kings added ... "This was clearly a mistake on our part and we accept full responsibility."
Los Angeles Kings
Fined by the NHL
for Letting Slava Voynov Practice
12/2/2014 12:52 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Los Angeles Kings were hit with a $100,000 fine by the NHL for letting suspended defenseman Slava Voynov practice with the team, one day after he pled not guilty to domestic violence charges.
According to a statement released by the NHL, the Kings violated the terms of Voynov's suspension by allowing him to skate Tuesday during a club practice. The statement read, "Such activity is in direct contravention of the terms of the suspension ... which permit Mr. Voynov to use club facilities and work with team personnel, but prohibit his participation in any team-related functions or activities."
We reached out to the team for comment on the fine ... so far, no word back.
As TMZ Sports previously reported, the 24-year-old was arrested on October 20 after allegedly beating up his wife -- causing injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck.
An attorney for Voynov claims cops simply misunderstood the hockey player's wife when she originally described the incident because she doesn't speak English.
SUFFERS MAJOR STROKE
... Intensive Care
12/2/2014 10:53 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
NHL legend Gordie Howe has suffered a major stroke ... and is currently being treated in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Lubbock, TX ... this according to his son.
The 86-year-old Hall of Famer has been experiencing ministrokes for the past several months ... and had been recovering from a more serious stroke he suffered on October 26th.
Howe had regained movement in his right side and seemed to be doing better when this latest stroke occurred.
How's children told the Detroit Free Press they were traveling to TX to be with their father.
Gordie is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He was still playing in the NHL at age 51 ... and has played more games than anyone else in the history of the league.
L.A. Kings Star Slava Voynov
Arrives to Court
In Domestic Violence Case
12/1/2014 9:11 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
10:00 AM PDT -- As expected, Voynov pled not guilty. According to court docs, Voynov and his wife have been living together since the incident, though she did not show up with him. He's due back in court on December 15.
L.A. Kings star Slava Voynov just arrived to a L.A. courthouse where he's scheduled to be arraigned on a felony domestic violence charge stemming from an alleged altercation with his wife.
Voynov was silent on his way into the courtroom ... but he's expected to plead not guilty to the charge.
As we previously reported, the 24-year-old was arrested on October 20th after allegedly beating his wife so badly, she was hospitalized with injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck. Sources tell us she required several stitches to close facial wounds.
As for Slava, he is adamant he didn't attack his wife -- and claims officials misunderstood her when she was trying to explain that she simply "fell down" at their L.A. home because she only speaks Russian.
St Louis Blues
Heavy Security Presence
In Wake of Ferguson Clashes
11/25/2014 5:07 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
There's a heavy police presence at the St. Louis Blues hockey game Tuesday night -- with officials making sure fans feel safe amid the insanity in neighboring Ferguson ... TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with staffers at the Scottrade Center -- who tell us there is "about double" the amount of security at the arena ... most of which are off-duty cops privately hired to work the event.
It's the first major sporting event in the area since the grand jury in the Mike Brown case announced it would not be indicting Officer Darren Wilson.
FYI -- there are roughly 2,200 National Guard troops in Ferguson to help maintain the peace.
Don't forget, there were clashes outside of the St. Louis Cardinals games back in October when protesters and Cards fans faced off over the issue.
Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.
NHL Player Slava Voynov
Charged With Domestic Violence
11/20/2014 1:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was hit with a felony charge Thursday following an arrest for domestic violence last month.
The charge -- corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury -- carries a maximum sentence of 9 years in state prison if found guilty.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Voynov's wife suffered injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck ... and the damage was serious enough that she had to get treated at a hospital. Sources tell us she required several stitches to close facial wounds.
Voynov will be arraigned on December 1. He's been suspended from the Kings since his arrest on October 20.
As we previously reported ... Voynov's attorney, Craig Renetzky, says the wife "fell down" in their home. He added ... she does not want to press charges.
That won't make the case go away. Prosecutors frequently pursue charges when a violent felony has occurred -- even if the alleged victim doesn't cooperate. Renetzky maintains his client is innocent.
Michael Buble Is Wrong
Best Hockey Fighter Is ...
11/12/2014 7:19 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Mike Myers has a bone to pick with Michael Buble ... claiming the singer was dead wrong about the greatest NHL fighter of all time.
Of course, Buble had picked Geno Odjick ... who once tried to fight an entire NHL team. The video is awesome.
But Myers says his #1 goon is Ken Baumgartner ... who's ranked #37 on the all-time list of penalty minutes served in the NHL. He was a badass too.
Well, after some quick cyber-snooping ... we actually found a video of a KEN vs. GENO fight from 1993 -- and when those guys dropped the gloves, there was one clear winner.
Ex-NHL Star Sean Avery
QUITS OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
... After Alleged Meltdown
11/5/2014 8:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Former NY Rangers superstar Sean Avery has QUIT his off-Broadway play -- just days before his scheduled to debut -- after allegedly cussing out a stage manager.
The 34-year-old was set to star in "Negative Is Positive" in New York City -- a story about an interracial couple -- but according to the author, he freaked out and stormed off.
“He’s a playwright’s worst nightmare,” “Negative” author Christy Smith-Sloman told Page Six.
"It’s a complete horror story ... Avery had a complete meltdown in rehearsals and quit. He pretty much snapped."
According to Smith-Sloman, Avery cussed out a stage manager who asked if he wanted a slice of pizza ... which Avery reportedly misheard as a cuss word ... and responded with an expletive-filled tirade.
The play is scheduled to open on Thursday -- and Smith-Sloman says Avery's role will be played by an understudy.
"It’s unbelievable he would do this two days before we open. At this point I don’t want him to be a part of this production. He can’t call people pieces of [bleep] and say, ‘Do you know who I am?’ [He] can’t threaten people."
Honors NHL Star Geno Odjick
'Best Hockey Fighter EVER'
10/31/2014 10:11 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Buble respects a man willing to fight 5 men at the same time ... which is why the long-time NHL fan says Gino Odjick is the best hockey brawler EVER!!!
Odjick was a BEAST out on the ice during his 12-year run in the NHL ... but Buble says his favorite memory ever is when the guy tried to fight an ENTIRE hockey team at once.
We think Buble was talking about an incident in May '95 ... when Odjick went after several players on the St. Louis Blues.
Odjick is currently battling terminal heart disease ... and just like when he played, Gino says he refuses to go down without a fight.
NHL Star Semyon Varlamov Sued
HE TRIED TO KILL ME
... Ex-GF Claims
10/27/2014 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
NHL star Semyon Varlamov is being sued by his ex-GF ... who claims he terrorized her for years and tried to kill her in a drunken rage ... TMZ Sports has learned.
The woman behind the lawsuit is Evgeniya Vavrinyuk ... a former law student from Russia ... who says the Colorado Avalanche goalie had a bad habit of getting super drunk and then beating the living crap out of her.
In her suit, filed in Colorado by attorney Keith Fink, Vavrinyuk claims Semyon first attacked her back in 2012 in a "drunken animal rage" ... kicking and punching her even after she was "helpless on the ground."
Vavrinyuk claims the abuse occurred multiple times ... with Semyon constantly apologizing and begging her for forgiveness when he sobered up.
In her suit, Vavrinyuk says some of the abuse occurred when they were living in Russia -- but even when neighbors called police, "they refused to file any report or press charges due to Varlamov's celebrity hockey player status in Russia."
"The officers even shook his hand and wished him the best of luck the following season after speaking to the beaten and bruised Vavrinyuk," her lawsuit claims.
Vavrinyuk claims the final straw occurred in the early hours of October 29th, 2013 ... when the NHL player allegedly came home from a Halloween party in Denver and drunkenly beat her with closed fists with deadly intentions.
In her suit, Vavrinyuk claims a friend noticed her bruises later that day and contacted police and Semyon was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
But despite a police investigator testifying that Vavrinyuk had bruises on her body, criminal charges against the hockey player were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence.
Now, Vavrinyuk has taken her case to the civil courts where the burden of proof is significantly lower -- sources tell us she's looking for more than $1 MILLION in damages.
We reached out to Varlamov's camp for comment -- so far, no word back.