Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Patrick Kane won't face charges as rape investigation comes to a close

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Blackhawks' Patrick Kane won't face charges as rape investigation comes to a close

For nearly three months, Patrick Kane has been the investigation of an alleged rape. On Thursday, that investigation officially came to a close.

No charges will be filed against Kane according to Erie County district attorney Frank Sedita III, who announced that his office has completed its investigation of the Blackhawks right wing. A woman had accused Kane of raping her at his Buffalo, N.Y.-area home in early August.

Sedita posted a statement on the Erie County D.A.’s website, saying Hamburg police and his office conducted an “exhaustive investigation over the course of the past three months.” The statement said that the case “is rife with reasonable doubt.”

Among their findings:

• There are significant material inconsistencies between the complainant’s accounts and those of other witnesses.

• The DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant’s claim of penetration, a required element of proof for a rape charge.

 The physical evidence and the forensic evidence, when viewed in tandem, tend to contradict the complainant’s claim that she was raped on Kane’s bed. Although Kane has exercised his constitutional right to remain silent (which prohibits questioning by law enforcement), he has made no known incriminating statements to any civilian, nor has he engaged in any conduct consistent with a consciousness of guilt.

The statement adds that the accuser has decided not to go forward with criminal prosecution.

Sedita will not be holding a press conference.

The Blackhawks were not practicing Thursday before leaving for New Jersey, where they’ll play the Devils on Friday night. Kane did issue a statement through the team, saying, “I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”

The team also released a statement saying it respected the announcement by the Erie County D.A. regarding the investigation.

“The Chicago Blackhawks organization has taken this matter very seriously, and has tried to navigate a very sensitive situation while continually respecting the legal proceedings,” the statement continued. “At this time we will have no further comment.”

Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, via email, said: “We knew all along that Patrick didn’t do anything wrong. We are pleased with the results from the investigation. It’s finally concluded.”

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also issued a statement regarding the matter: “In light of the statement issued today by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, as an internal League matter, we intend to promptly review the information that may now be available to us. We will have no further comment until we have completed that review.”

The Buffalo News, citing sources, reported on Saturday night that Kane was unlikely to face charges; Kane didn’t want to comment much on the report out of Sunday’s practice. He did say he wasn’t frustrated that the investigation was taking a while.

The Buffalo News, citing sources, reported on Saturday night that Kane was unlikely to face charges; Kane didn’t want to comment much on the report out of Sunday’s practice. He did say he wasn’t frustrated that the investigation was taking a while.

“You understand the law and I’m not the only case that’s going on in that district. I’m sure there are other matters they’re attending to. It’s one of those situations where it seems like it’s been a long time but obviously I’ll be looking forward to any time of conclusion, whatever it may be,” Kane said on Sunday. “For me to comment on any thing sources say or any reports would be against what we’ve been saying this whole time. I’ll just stick to that plan: not saying much about it, just waiting for a conclusion.”

The investigation had its strange moments and in late September, Sedita held a press conference to clarify/correct some of them. The accuser’s attorney at the time, Tom Eoannou, claimed there was possible evidence tampering involving the rape kit and a bag allegedly left at the accuser’s mother’s home. Eoannou resigned from the case the next day, saying, “misrepresentations were made” regarding how that bag was found. Sedita, speaking on Sept. 25, said the rape-kit evidence bag was a “hoax” and that rape kits come in boxes, not bags.

When asked that day about where the case went from there, Sedita said, “the question in my mind is not when this case will go to a grand jury, it’s if this case will go to a grand jury.”

Coach Joel Quenneville talked recently of how Kane has dealt with the matter on the ice.

“As far as that situation, I commend Kaner and how he's handled it and the team,” he said last weekend. “We haven't ever mentioned it or talked about it. It's been business as usual. Our focus is trying to win the next game. He's gotten off to a great start to the season and it's basically business as usual.”

Kane was invited to training camp when it opened in mid-September. He made his first public comments – answering hockey questions and declining most others – during a bizarre news conference at the University of Notre Dame. He stated at that time, and reiterated several times after, that he had done nothing wrong.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 189 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Kotkaniemi has been a top-six forward for his league team in Finland all season and had a very solid U18 season relative to his historical peers in the league. He has very good hands that are high-end, if not flashing elite. He can make very skilled plays off an entry, but what impresses me is how well he can control the puck and keep plays alive."

NHL player comparable:

Fit for Blackhawks:

There isn't a player that has climbed the rankings in such a short amount of time than Kotkaniemi, who was initially projected to go outside the top 10 but could go as high as No. 3 overall. It's likely because there aren't many high-end centers in this draft, and he's the top one.

If Kotkaniemi happens to slip to No. 8, it may be hard for the Blackhawks to pass up on him. He's versatile, too, which is always a bonus, especially when playing under Joel Quenneville. But if they view him as a center, here's how the Blackhawks would look down the middle: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Kotkaniemi and Artem Anisimov.

Um, yeah. That'll work.