Joel Quenneville: Blackhawks staying focused amid Kane developments

Joel Quenneville, Blackhawks follow latest developments in Kane case but focus on hockey

It was an eventful 48 hours between the last time the Blackhawks took the ice Wednesday in Detroit and their 5-1 exhibition victory Friday night against the Canadiens.

In that span, the attorney for the accuser in the sexual assault investigation against Patrick Kane claimed a bag containing evidence from the rape kit in the case had been compromised. Then the attorney, Thomas Eoannou, withdrew from the case, claiming he could not trust the story of how the bag came into his possession.

And Friday, the lead prosecutor in the case, Erie County (New York) District Attorney Frank Sedita III, said the bag in question was part of an "elaborate hoax" from the accuser's mother and all evidence in the case had been accounted for.

It was a stunning — and quick — turn of events for anybody following the case, including coach Joel Quenneville. In his typically subtle way, Quenneville said he had been paying attention to the developments but did not elaborate when discussing Kane.

"I know there's been a lot going on the past couple of days," Quenneville said before Friday's game. "But today we're on the ice."

Quenneville added he has not discussed the details of the investigation with the team.

"We don't talk about it," Quenneville said. "You hear things, but it's been business as usual."

Kane was not on the roster for the game, but Quenneville said he is "likely" to play Saturday against the Blues at the United Center. Quenneville said Kane has been diligent with his on-ice duties while the investigation plays out.

"I have to commend him," Quenneville said. "His approach has been very businesslike. He's trying to get his game in order."

Roster cuts: The Hawks trimmed their roster to 48 players. They assigned forward Mike Liambas and defensemen Mathieu Brisebois, Dillon Fournier, Dennis Roberston and Nolan Valleau to their AHL affiliate in Rockford and released forwards Daniel Ciampini, Jake Dowell and Dane Walters and defensemen Sam Jardine and Nick Mattson.

More cuts will be made after Saturday's exhibition, Quenneville said.

On the ice: Center Marcus Kruger practiced with the Hawks on Friday in Chicago after working through a visa issue that had kept him in Sweden. Quenneville said Kruger likely will play in the team's two exhibition games next week.

chine@tribpub.com

Twitter @ChristopherHine

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