Latest on Patrick Kane, Zdeno Chara, Nathan MacKinnon, Mats Zuccarello, David Clarkson, Pekka Rinne and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Patrick Kane sexual assault investigation took another bizarre turn yesterday, when the attorney for Kane’s accuser abruptly quit the case. Only 24 hours following a press conference in which attorney Thomas Eoannou alleged the evidence bag believed to contain the rape kit used in his investigation had been tampered with, he said he no longer believed the account by the victim’s mother over how that bag came into her possession and was ethically obliged to leave the case. Meanwhile, the Eric County DA has called a news conference for today to address the allegation of tampering. Sources also claim a key witness, the female friend of the alleged victim, no longer fully backs her friend’s story and may be reluctant to testify.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of this comes less than a week after a report in The Buffalo News cited sources claiming the DNA evidence suggested no sexual intercourse took place between Kane and the alleged victim. While it is possible sufficient evidence could be compiled to warrant charges against Kane, recent events suggest that could be unlikely. Still, the investigation has to proceed and it could take some time to reach a conclusion.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was forced to leave last night’s preseason game against the New York Rangers after suffering an upper-body injury early in the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were already without Dennis Seidenberg, who underwent back surgery yesterday and is slated to miss eight weeks. Losing Chara for a period of time would be another serious blow to their depleted defense corps.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello played well in his first game back from a brain injury suffered during the 2015 playoffs, tallying a goal and an assist, plus a shootout goal, while seeing over 19 minutes of ice time in a losing cause as his club fell 4-3 to the Bruins.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon hopes to put last season’s sophomore slump behind him with a bounce-back performance this season.
NBC SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets winger David Clarkson could face a suspension after the league requested footage for his kneeing of Minnesota Wild forward Justin Fontaine, which forced the latter from the game. Clarkson received a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clarkson already has two suspensions on his NHL resume totaling 12 games.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne isn’t concerned about the possibility of facing a heavy workload this season. He played in 64 game in 2014-15, winning 41 of them, but struggled during the second half, leading to suggestions his workload was to blame.
SPORTSNET: A look at how the new coach’s challenge could affect NHL games.