NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is relieved for his family and friends now that a prosecutor has closed a rape investigation against him.
Kane sidestepped questions about his own feelings Friday in his first comments after learning he won't be criminally charged following a three-month investigation by local authorities in upstate New York.
A 21-year-old woman had contended she was raped Aug. 2 at Kane's offseason home outside Buffalo. Prosecutors said the case was ''rife with reasonable doubt.''
Surrounded by about two dozen reporters after a pre-game skate before a game in New Jersey against the Devils, Kane refused to say if felt vindicated or learned any lessons. He repeatedly referred to the Blackhawks' statement Thursday in which he reiterated he had done nothing wrong, he respected the legal process and he was glad the matter is closed.
His hope on Friday was to get back to normal.
''That's the goal, right? The main thing,'' Kane said. ''You know as far as everything goes I have happy to be playing hockey. I am happy to be here tonight and see some of the Blackhawks' fans in the crowd and play another game tonight. I'll try to do it as normal as possible.''
Kane said playing hockey helped him.
''When I am on the ice I am not thinking about it too much, said the 26-year-old who has won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks.
''It's one of those things where it has been my getaway to play hockey and enjoy being at the rink,'' he said. ''I am looking forward to keep getting a chance to do that.''
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday that the NHL wouldn't comment on the case until reviewing the prosecutor's findings. He did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press on Friday asking whether the league had received those findings.
The first pick in the 2007 draft, Kane hasn't shown any signs of distraction on the ice. His 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 13 games have him ranked third in the NHL's scoring race.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Kane has never missed a beat during the investigation.
''It probably has taken an immense amount of energy to do that so far,'' Toews said. ''Hopefully it will be easier to do that now that it has been resolved to a certain degree.''
Andrew Shaw said Kane never showed signs of stress.
''He was still playing great hockey, he was still focused and ready to go,'' Shaw said. ''We had his back no matter what.''
Forward Viktor Tikhonov said some players might not be able to focus or play well with an investigation being conducted. Kane did, many times being booed by opposing fans when he touched the puck.
''The guys who know him, know what he is about and what kind of person he is and we never have questioned that,'' Tikhonov said. ''It's unfortunate it happened. I don't know if it (the booing) is going to stick around or whatever.''
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said it was a relief for Kane and the team that the case was dropped.
''It's a big family in there and there's a lot of support there and from day one nothing has changed,'' the coach said.
Kane said he might talk about what he has learned over the last three months.
''You know I think once again there's probably a date and time to address those things,'' he said. ''As far as right now, like I said, I have released by statement through the Blackhawks and that's all I am going to say on the matter.''