A statement from the NHL:
“The National Hockey League announced today that it has completed its independent review of the Patrick Kane matter, the final stage of which included an in-person meeting between Kane and Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York on Monday, March 7. Based on its review, including the determination made by the Erie County District Attorney not to pursue charges, the NHL has concluded that the allegations made against Kane were unfounded. The League considers the matter closed and will have no further comment.”
As recently as January, the NHL had maintained that its investigation of Kane was “ongoing.”
The allegations of sexual assault against Kane first emerged in August.
Kane, 27, is the favorite to win the Hart Trophy this season. With 89 points in 67 games, he leads the NHL in scoring by a 16-point margin.
Only one is official, but it sounds like there could be four outdoor NHL games next season.
The official one is Oct. 23 in Winnipeg, the Heritage Classic between the Jets and Oilers at Investors Group Field.
The reported ones are:
— Jan. 1, 2017, in Toronto, presumably at BMO Field, between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings (Toronto Star)
— Jan. 2, 2017, in St. Louis, at Busch Stadium, the Winter Classic between the Blues and Blackhawks (Post-Dispatch)
— Feb. 18, 2017, in Pittsburgh, at Heinz Field, between the Penguins and Flyers (TSN and ESPN)
Official announcements for the reported ones are expected shortly, possibly later today.
Oh, and say what you will about the novelty of these outdoor games having worn off — it definitely has for a lot of fans — but don’t expect many, if any, tickets to go unsold.
Devils forward Tuomo Ruutu has been fined $5,000 for slew-footing Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen on Sunday.
The fine is the maximum allowable under the CBA.
Ruutu received a minor penalty on the play, which occurred in the third period of the Penguins’ 6-1 victory.
Video of the incident:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have activated goalie Sergei Bobrovsky off injured reserve and, in a corresponding move, assigned goalie Joonas Korpisalo to AHL Lake Erie.
Bobrovsky is expected to start Friday versus Pittsburgh. The 27-year-old hasn’t played since January, when he suffered yet another groin injury.
The Jackets were committed to not rushing Bobrovsky back from his latest groin issue. In the words of GM Jarmo Kekalainen, they wanted to do “everything that’s possible to make sure he gets back to 100 percent and playing and sustaining that, rather than this back and forth.”
Bobrovsky returned to practice last week.
“I did some splits,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “I did some reaction stuff. I felt pretty good.”
As for Korpisalo, the 21-year-old rookie showed well in the NHL. He leaves the Jackets with a 14-8-4 record and .918 save percentage.
“His development is very, very important to our organization,” said Kekalainen. “This was the plan all along. He needs to play, and play regularly. He’s going to be a big part of Lake Erie’s playoff run.”
Related: Jackets insist Bobrovsky didn’t return too early from groin injury
Cross your fingers and hope for some chemistry, Blackhawks fans.
Tonight in St. Louis, Marian Hossa is expected to return from his month-long injury absence and skate on Chicago’s top line with captain Jonathan Toews and deadline acquisition Andrew Ladd.
On paper, it’s an imposing trio.
“I’m looking forward to playing with those two,” Hossa told CSN Chicago. “Hopefully we click, hopefully we find the chemistry and we can be the dominant line we want to be.”
If all that happens, the Blackhawks will barrel into the playoffs with those three on the first line and Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane on the second.
The bottom six — featuring the likes of Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Shaw, Andrew Desjardins, Tomas Fleischmann, and Dale Weise — doesn’t look too bad either, especially with Marcus Kruger expected back soon.
“We feel there’s balance deeper than we’ve seen at any point this year,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re better when everybody’s contributing as four lines, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Related: Can Ehrhoff find a ‘style fit’ with the Blackhawks?