A Denver judge on Friday dropped a domestic violence case against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov at the request of prosecutors.
Varlamov, 25, was arrested in October on suspicion of felony kidnapping and assault after his girlfriend told a Denver police detective he drunkenly kicked her, knocked her down, grabbed her by her hair and told her in Russian that "if this were Russia, he would have beat her more."
Police noted in reports that the Oct. 29 encounter inside the couple's downtown apartment left the woman, Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, 24, bruised.
Prosecutors, who earlier declined to file the kidnapping charge for lack of evidence, asked a judge Friday to dismiss the misdemeanor assault charge after further investigation convinced them they couldn't prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
"That's not to say we don't believe our victim," district attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said.
As detectives continued to investigate and re-interviewed witnesses, statements began to shift, Kimbrough said.
"Most of the time, additional investigation strengthens our case. This time ... it became clear we didn't have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."
Varlamov's agent, Paul Theofanous, told The Denver Post, "I maintained then and maintain now my client was always totally innocent of these charges."
Attorney Robert Abrams, who represented Vavrinyuk, said Friday afternoon that he had not yet talked to his client to hear her reaction.
After the arrest, Vavrinyuk told reporters she was adamant that Varlamov should be punished and that his fans "know what he really is and what he is capable of." She could not be reached for comment Friday.
"This is no surprise to me," Abrams said of the dismissal.
His fiancée, Diana Senova, acted as an interpreter for Vavrinyuk and also was a key witness in the case, telling police she noticed bruises on Vavrinyuk's body after the incident and had offered her a place to stay.
"Now that it's out there, I'm sure there will be just as much speculation about the events as there was the day the news broke," Abrams said, declining to comment further.
Defense attorney Saskia Jordan wrote in a statement that Varlamov was pleased by the dismissal and "that a just result was achieved without the necessity of a trial.
"Mr. Varlamov will continue to focus exclusively on hockey and his family, and is grateful to the Avalanche ownership, management and coaching staff, his teammates, Colorado Avs fans, the Russian Federation and fellow countrymen for their unwavering support."
The Avalanche said Varlamov would address the media on the matter after Saturday's game against the Kings in Los Angeles.
Asked if Varlamov might sue his accuser or anyone connected with the case, Theofanous said, "I'm not going to comment on that, other than to say he has legal remedies at his disposal should he choose to use them."
Sadie Gurman: 303-954-1661, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/sgurman
Staff writer Adrian Dater contributed to this report.