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Patrick Kane talks to investigators, economic turmoil threatens NHL expansion in Quebec, more hockey news and notes.

By Allan Muir
August 25, 2015

Quick hits from around the hockey world...

• Patrick Kane has reportedly met with New York authorities who are investigating rape allegations against the Chicago Blackhawks superstar. The Buffalo News quoted one source who said Kane met with an investigator from the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. A second source told the News that Kane met with both that investigator and a detective from the Hamburg Police Department. The story did not reveal when the meeting took place.

Why the Patrick Kane rape case investigation may take months

According to the News, the case is being jointly investigated by both the Erie County DA’s office and the Hamburg PD because of the high-profile nature of the case. Police in Hamburg confirmed earlier this month they were investigating an alleged incident that occurred at Kane’s offseason home. The Buffalo News was first to report that Kane was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault. As's Michael McCann pointed out, this whole incident could drag out for months.

• Could the Quebec City expansion bid be pushed to the backburner due to the continued struggles of the Canadian dollar? With the city’s bid currently in the third phase of the NHL’s process, the state of the currency could be enough of a concern for the league to take a pass, at least for the moment.

Quebec City’s stunning new arena designed with NHL team in mind

Though it’s up slightly in early trading on Tuesday, the loonie hit an 11-year low of 75.27 cents U.S. on Monday, and some experts suggest that’s not even close to rock bottom. Considering that salaries are paid in U.S. dollars, that hints at considerable financial turmoil for a potential franchise—especially one that also has to deal with small market issues like a limited corporate community to draw on for support.

Granted, Quebecor, the Canadian communications giant behind the bid, has significant assets to draw on. One recent report suggests the company could sell its unused wireless spectrum rights alone for up to $1.5 billion, a tidy sum that could potentially float a team through a loonie slump. The question is, does the league see that as a viable solution to a potentially long-term problem?

Currency fluctuation is an unavoidable reality for an organization doing cross-border business. Remember, the loonie was at $1.02 USD when the Thrashers were allowed to relocate to Winnipeg in June, 2011, which illustrates that sometimes it all comes down to timing. And maybe the timing isn’t right now for Quebec City.

• It was just a scrimmage, sure, and the defense was half-hearted at best. But take one look at this display of hands by Connor McDavid at the BioSteel camp and tell me you can’t wait to watch this kid in action. What’s really eye-catching in this clip is how relentlessly Bruins goaltending prospect Malcolm Subban battles to eliminate the scoring chance and McDavid still manages to outlast him before sliding the puck in far side. An absolute jaw dropper of a goal.

• As little as the New Jersey Devils have done to improve their on-ice product during this off-season, aren’t they a better team simply for moving past the Lou Lamoriello era? An organization that had stagnated under his rule needed fresh leadership more than anything. The Devils are unlikely to win many more games under new GM Ray Shero and head coach John Hynes, at least short term, but the roster should skew younger and faster this season. The defense could be a bit of an adventure, with the potential for six of the top seven to be under the age of 25, but at least there’s an opportunity available for these kids to prove themselves at this level. That’s something Lamoriello, the man who drafted them, wasn’t likely to provide them this season.

• With the hiring of Steve Spott on Monday, the San Jose Sharks have assembled a dream team of former OHL coaches to get them back into the playoffs. Spott, who spent five years as head coach of the Kitchener Rangers and seven seasons as an assistant to new Sharks bench boss Pete DeBoer, remains highly regarded despite his association with the garbage fire in Toronto last season. Spott will likely handle the power play duties, a strength for the team last season when it finished sixth in the league with a solid 21.6% success rate. He should have an easier time of it than Bob Bougher, the two-time OHL coach of the year with the Windsor Spitfires who will be tasked with fixing a penalty kill that ranked 25th at just 78.5%.

• This silent film of former NHL coaching legend Mike Keenan portraying communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin as maybe the father of hockey might be the craziest thing we’ve seen all summer. The film was created as a promotional bit ahead of the 2015-16 season for the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Stick tap to Gabrielle Farber for sharing this must-see gem. 

Hot links

• It seems like everybody loves the hockey documentary film  ... except the Russians.

• The stars of the movie Face-Off look back at the making of the forgotten hockey classic.

• What would a Las Vegas expansion team look like? Here’s a hypothetical look at the uniforms, the coach and the general manager. It’s some guy named Gretzky.

• Analytics are now being used to prevent injuries and keep players healthy. Man, is there anything stats can’t do?

• CSKA Moscow captured the KHL Opening Cup with a 4–3 OT win over SKA St. Petersburg. The idea of awarding a trophy for winning the first game of the season might sound ridiculous, but it does have a somber backstory. The trophy was created in 2011 to honor the victims of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash.

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