DENVER — Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov is accused of assaulting his girlfriend, kicking her in the chest and dragging her by the hair, and was scheduled to appear before a judge today.
The 25-year-old turned himself into police Wednesday evening, after practicing with the team that day. He was arrested on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault.
His arrest warrant details the alleged assault, which took place Monday. In addition to kicking the woman, police say Varlamov told her in Russian that if this were Russia, he would have beat her more.
Varlamov’s attorney, Jack Rotole, declined to comment on the case going into Varlamov’s court appearance. Rotole told The Associated Press he planned to talk to the judge about the probable cause affidavit, but he wouldn’t elaborate.
Varlamov’s agent, Paul Theofanous, said Varlamov “is completely innocent of all of these charges.”
The Avalanche said in a statement they were aware of the allegations but wouldn’t comment further until the conclusion of the investigation.
Acquired from Washington in a 2011 trade, Varlamov is 7-1 this season with a 1.76 goals-against average. On Sunday night, he made 24 saves in a 3-2 home victory over Winnipeg.
The Avalanche play at Dallas on Friday night and Varlamov was scheduled to start. His backup, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, has been just as good in net, recording two shutouts.
Varlamov is in the midst of a resurgent season under new coach Patrick Roy and a staff that includes goalie guru Francois Allaire, who once mentored Roy and Giguere.
Between Roy and Allaire, they’ve restored Varlamov’s confidence a year after he allowed three goals a game. Varlamov said he credits his improvement to Allaire altering his form in goal. Just minor tweaks, he said, but wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics of what they were.
Whatever was changed, it has been paying off as he’s among the NHL leaders in goals-against, wins and save percentage (.945).
After practice Wednesday, Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said it was “pretty cool to see Varly transition into an elite NHL goalie.”