Speaking for the first time about rape allegations made against Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described the situation as “a terrible thing” at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
“Obviously whenever a player is involved in something like Patrick Kane is subject to right now in terms of the authorities investigating and looking, it's unfortunate,” he said.
Bettman revealed that the league has not yet opened its own investigation into the matter and he refused to speculate about the possibility of a suspension for Kane.
“When you get a situation where there’s this type of attention and focus, we believe you deal with it on a case by case basis because rarely are two of these circumstances identical,” he said. “It's a terrible thing but we’re going to have to watch the process play out and at the appropriate time we’ll make whatever decisions have to be made at the time.”
That time may be fast approaching. Chicago’s training camp opens on Sept. 17 at Notre Dame. Bettman, though, is unwilling to be rushed into a decision.
“At the appropriate time we will look into it,” he said. “But when somebody is subject to an investigation by law enforcement, they’re generally not too anxious to get involved with any other parties until they get that behind them one way or the other.
“We will make whatever decision we have to make on the appropriate time frame that we have to make it based on the information that’s available to us at the time. Beyond that, I don’t want to speculate at this point.”
UPDATE: Renaud Lavoie of TVA says Bettman will meet with Kane and representatives from the Blackhawks “early next week” to make a decision about the player’s future.