Varlamov starts for Colorado Avalanche despite felony charges

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DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov started for the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night against the Dallas Stars despite his arrest and the domestic violence charges brought against him this week, head coach Patrick Roy confirmed.

When asked about his decision to start Varlamov just days after he was charged with third degree assault and second degree kidnapping, a felony, Roy said "Why wait?"

"We're all aware of what happened," Roy said. "But we just feel that he's our guy." Colorado won the game 3-2 in overtime to go to 11-1 on the season.

Varlamov posted his $5,000 bond after a court appearance Thursday, and was quickly shuttled to Denver International Airport, presumed for a flight to join in the team in Dallas. A judge ruled that Varlamov was not a flight risk, and permitted him to travel with the team.

According to an arrest affidavit, Varlamov knocked his girlfriend, Russian model Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, to the ground with a kick to the chest, stomped on her chest repeatedly, dragged her into another room by her hair and told her in Russian "if this were Russia, I would have beaten you more."

Denver Police say the incident leading up to Varlamov’s arrest took place inside a high-rise apartment building at 1700 Bassett.

Third degree assault charges carry a possible 2 years in prison and are described as knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person.

Second degree kidnapping charges carry a possible 2- to 6-year sentence and are described as any person who knowingly seizes and carries any person from one place to another, without his/her consent and without lawful justification.

Voice of Russia Radio was the first to report that Igor Ananskykh, head of Russia’s Committee for Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs, believes Varlamov's arrest is part of a conspiracy to weaken his country's national hockey team.

“The situation is really strange, given that the Sochi Olympics will take place soon and Varlamov is a candidate to become part of our national hockey team which we do count on,” Ananskykh told the radio station. “What about presumption of innocence? It’s not normal at all.

“Varlamov will fall out of the training process, which will have an impact on his readiness before the Olympics in Sochi. The first thing that comes to my mind is that it is an effort to weaken our national team.”

At the very least, Ananskykh appears to be a tad misinformed about the U.S. judicial process. It is, in fact, normal for suspects officially charged with a crime to be jailed until bond conditions are set by a judge, which is exactly what happened in Varlamov's case.

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