Semyon Varlamov is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law of the third-degree assault charge being brought against him in Denver. However, according to Alexei Kasatonov, Team Russia's general manager for the 2014 Olympics, it's Varlamov's play that is proving his innocence. No, really.
“Semyon's in good form now, continuing to show that he's one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and showing with his game that the truth is on his side,” Russian national team general manager Alexei Kasatonov said on the website of the SKA St. Petersburg KHL team.
In another apparent reference to the domestic abuse charge, Kasatonov said that Varlamov “is not that kind of guy and would not be capable of such a dirty deed.”
Just wanted to add that emphasis there to make sure you catch all that.
Varlamov was formally charged with third-degree assault Nov. 22 by the Denver County district attorney. A kidnapping charge was dropped. Again, he very well may be innocent.
That said, the trivialization of this claim from Varlamov's girlfriend that the Avalanche goalie assaulted her has been quite unsettling. One Russian politician even claimed that Varlamov's arrest was a part of a conspiracy to keep him out of the Olympics for Team USA's benefit.
This is an issue, innocent or guilty, that is bigger than hockey.
No one knows what happened that night besides Varlamov and his girlfriend, but I'm pretty sure the quickness of his glove hand or the number of pucks he's kicking out doesn't really say anything about the truth of the allegations.
Varlamov's play actually has been a tick under his performance from earlier in the season, but he has still posted a strong .922 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average in nine appearances since his Oct. 30 arrest.
Varlamov is due in court on Dec. 2. If convicted, he can face up to two years in prison under Colorado assault laws.