Bettman hasn't spoken to Kane during probe, calls situation 'unfortunate'

TORONTO -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he hasn't attempted to talk to Blackhawks star Patrick Kane while Kane has been investigated about a sexual-assault allegation.

"Nobody is going to talk to us," Bettman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "When you're being investigated, you're focused on that from law enforcement, and you're not going to be dealing with third parties."

Erie County prosecutors have postponed grand jury proceedings involving Kane, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed to the AP this week.

Evidence was scheduled to be presented to jurors Tuesday, but the hearings were postponed for about two weeks, the person told the AP. A second AP source said Kane has been under investigation after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her at his offseason home near Buffalo. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because District Attorney Frank Sedita and police have not disclosed details of the case since announcing their investigation last month.

"He hasn't been charged," NHL Players' Association Executive Director Don Fehr said Wednesday after promoting the World Cup of Hockey at a news conference. "We hope and expect that he won't be, but we have to wait and see."

The Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champion, are scheduled to open training camp next week at Notre Dame, and it's uncertain whether Kane will be there.

"I am not commenting about the Kane matter," Sedita told the AP last week. "Having said that, it's difficult to imagine how any sport's team's training camp schedule would ever have any effect upon a prosecutor's decision-making process."

Pat Brisson, Kane's agent, said Wednesday he believes Kane is innocent of any crime.

"I totally believe [Kane]," Brisson said. "He's always been honest with me. I've known him for a long time. I've been doing this a long time as a sports agent. You get to know people and get to know the character of an individual. Spending more time with Patrick over this situation, I do believe he is innocent."

Kane, 26, is from Buffalo and was selected by Chicago with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. A four-time All-Star and the 2013 playoffs MVP, Kane has helped Chicago win three Stanley Cup titles in six years. He's also a two-time Olympian.

Bettman told reporters the situation is "unfortunate," adding it is not reflective of how a vast majority of players in the league conduct themselves off the ice.

"It's a terrible thing," Bettman said. "But we're going to have to watch the process play out, and at the appropriate time, we'll make whatever decisions have to be made."

For now, Bettman said there's not a lot the league can do.

"Our access to information, while legal procedures are ongoing, is somewhat limited," Bettman said in a conference room at the NHL's office in Toronto. "Our ability to talk to a player in question is fairly limited when they're dealing with legal entanglements."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.