Kane on al­le­ga­tion: ‘I’ve done noth­ing wrong’

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - HOCKEY - By John Wawrow

BUF­FALO, N.Y. — Sabres for­ward Evan­der Kane was calm and brief in say­ing he looks for­ward to hav­ing his name cleared in con­nec­tion with a sex-crime al­le­ga­tion.

“I just want to say I’ve done noth­ing wrong,” Kane said Mon­day morn­ing fol­low­ing Buf­falo’s pre-game skate be­fore host­ing the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals. “I re­spect the le­gal process. And un­for­tu­nately at this time, there’s not much more I can talk about.”

Kane spoke for about 30 sec­onds in front of a large gath­er­ing of re­porters in a cor­ner of the Sabres locker-room. He did not take any ques­tions in his first com­ments since The Buf­falo News re­ported Buf­falo po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a claim made against the player.

The al­leged in­ci­dent occurred early Sun­day at a down­town ho­tel, where Kane is liv­ing, af­ter he and the Sabres re­turned to Buf­falo fol­low­ing a 6-3 win at Bos­ton. Po­lice is­sued a state­ment that was lim­ited to say­ing no re­port or charges had been filed.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is in its pre­lim­i­nary stages, ac­cord­ing to a per­son with dir- ect knowl­edge of the de­tails who spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of­fi­cials are not pub­licly com­ment­ing about the case. The per­son said po­lice searched Kane’s room at the ho­tel and towed his ve­hi­cle, de­scrib­ing that as stan­dard prac­tice in such cases.

Kane re­joined his team­mates af­ter be­ing given a per­sonal day off Sun­day, which was when the Sabres were made aware of the al­le­ga­tion, coach Dan Bylsma said. Kane was in the lineup against the Cap­i­tals.

With­out go­ing into de­tail, Bylsma said Kane ad­dressed the team be­fore prac­tice and added the player ap­peared happy to be on the ice with his team­mates. Bylsma oth­er­wise de­clined com­ment by re­fer­ring to a state­ment the team re­leased Sun­day.

“We take the al­le­ga­tion made to­day against Evan­der Kane very se­ri­ously,” the Sabres said. “We are gath­er­ing facts and have been in touch with the NHL and Evan­der’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

Kane, who is from North Van­cou­ver, B.C., is the sec­ond NHL player to be in­ves­ti­gated for a sex of­fence by po­lice in the Buf­falo area this year. In Novem­ber, pros­e­cu­tors cited a lack of cred­i­ble ev­i­dence af­ter re­view­ing an al­le­ga­tion against Chicago Black­hawks star Pa­trick Kane, who was ac­cused of as­sault­ing a woman at his off-sea­son home out­side Buf­falo in Au­gust.

Sabres cap­tain Brian Gionta said the al­le­ga­tion against Kane shouldn’t be a dis­trac­tion.

“It’s one of our team­mates ob­vi­ously, but the bot­tom line is, when we’re in this room we have to worry about hockey,” Gionta said. “Lots of things hap­pen, and that’s for him to deal with. Part of be­ing a pro­fes­sional is try­ing to sep­a­rate things.”

Gionta re­ferred to the team state­ment when asked how the team will sup­port Kane.

“It’s a se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tion, but at the same time, that’s what it is at this point in time,” Gionta said. “And un­til things change, he’s our team­mate and that’s about it.”

The 24-year-old Kane is in his first full sea­son in Buf­falo af­ter he was ac­quired in a multi-player trade with the Win­nipeg Jets in Fe­bru­ary. He did not play for the Sabres last year be­cause he was re­cov­er­ing from sea­son-end­ing shoul­der surgery.

This year, the hard-hit­ting for­ward has eight goals and five as­sists in 25 games.

Kane is in his sev­enth NHL sea­son af­ter be­ing se­lected fourth over­all by the then-At­lanta Thrash­ers in the 2009 draft. He has scored 19 or more goals three times, and en­joyed a ca­reer-best sea­son in 2011-12, when he had 30 goals, 27 as­sists for 57 points in 74 games.

MICHAEL DWYER / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES

Sabres winger Evan­der Kane says he is con­fi­dent his name will be cleared.

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