Saskia Jordan and Laura Menninger successfully defended NHL Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov against his former girlfriend’s claims of assault and battery. On February 2, 2016, a Denver jury rejected Plaintiff’s civil claims and found in Mr. Varlamov’s favor on his counterclaim for abuse of process based on Plaintiff’s improper pursuit of a criminal assault charge against Mr. Varlamov. Jordan and Menninger previously represented Mr. Varlamov on the criminal assault charge which was dismissed prior to trial by the Denver District Attorney’s Office. The civil jury found that Plaintiff must pay for the costs Mr. Varlamov incurred in defending against the dismissed criminal case.
Avalanche goalie Varlamov returns to team in backup role Thursday
From the Denver Post by Mike Chambers
A day after winning a civil lawsuit brought against him and being awarded $126,000 damages, Russian-born Semyon Varlamov felt proud and privileged to be among the American work force.
“I learned a lot of about the law in America,” the Avalanche goaltender said Wednesday after practice. “You cannot lie. You have to be truthful.”
Varlamov and his attorneys spent eight days over the last two weeks in a Denver courtroom defending allegations that he engaged in assault and battery against his former girlfriend, Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, in October 2013. The jury not only sided with Varlamov, who has a $6 million salary this season, but ordered Vavrinyuk to pay his court costs.
“I’m glad it’s over. It’s not easy to sit there, all day long, and at the end of the day you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Varlamov said. “But I’m glad it’s over. We won the case. I just want to move on and just focus on hockey.”
He added: “The reason why I’m still here, still with this team, is because the guys stepped up for me, this organization stepped up for me and have been really supportive. I really appreciate that.”
Varlamov, who has practiced with the team just twice over the last week, will return to the lineup in a backup role Thursday against the visiting Dallas Stars.
Calvin Pickard will get the start, his fourth consecutive. Pickard made 40 saves in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Avs coach Patrick Roy said Varlamov likely will start Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center, assuming the goalie’s conditioning is back to where it was before the trial.
Varlamov will take shots Thursday at the morning skate at the Pepsi Center and practice Friday.
Roy testified at Varlamov’s trial last week, along with team captain Gabe Landeskog, team executive Greg Sherman and former Avalanche teammate Patrick Bordeleau, among others.
“It’s pretty impressive to see how Varly handled it,” Roy said. “He always kept to himself and never (complained) to the guys. He always tried to stay focused in his play. Honestly, he deserves a lot of credit. And now it’s going to be easier for him to focus on what he has to do and I think it will be good for our team.”
Landeskog: “We’re just happy it’s over, for Varly’s sake — to see him more relieved and not have to deal with this. His name has been dragged in the dirt for two years now and it’s good to finally see the truth come out. We’re just happy we can put it behind him. … It’s been a bit of a distraction, I’m not going to lie.”
Because of last weekend’s NHL all-star break, Varlamov missed just three games while attending to his legal affairs. Pickard started all three games and minor-leaguer Roman Will served as his backup.
Will has been reassigned to San Antonio of the American Hockey League but the Avs still had three goalies Wednesday, including injured Reto Berra, who is slowly recovering from an ankle ailment and remains on injured reserve.