NHL

Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane says he's innocent amid sex offense investigation

Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane said Monday he has done nothing wrong and is looking forward to clearing his name amid a sex offense investigation.

Kane spoke for about 30 seconds in the Sabres locker room on Monday morning following the team's skate before its game against the Washington Capitals. It was the first time Kane was able to comment since The Buffalo News was the first to report a day earlier that he was the subject of the investigation by Buffalo police. Kane said he respects the legal process and noted there's little more that he can talk about. He did not take questions.

The alleged incident occurred early Sunday at a downtown hotel, where Kane is living, after he and the Sabres returned to Buffalo following a 6-3 win at Boston.

A person with direct knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that police are in the preliminary stages of investigating the claim made against Kane. No police report or charges have been filed. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because officials are not publicly commenting on the investigation.

The person said police towed Kane's vehicle and also searched his room at the hotel. The person stressed said it's standard practice for police to seize a person's vehicle in these types of instances.

Sabres captain Brian Gionta, without providing details, said Kane addressed the team before practice.

The Sabres and the NHL have released statements saying they are aware of the investigation.

"We take the allegation made today against Evander Kane very seriously," the Sabres said Sunday evening. "We are gathering facts and have been in touch with the NHL and Evander's representatives."

Kane's agent, Craig Oster, has not returned messages. Kane's lawyer, Paul Cambria declined comment.

The Sabres acquired the 24-year-old in a multi-player trade with the Winnipeg Jets in February. He did not play for Buffalo last season because he was recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery.

This year, the hard-hitting forward has eight goals and five assists in 25 games.

Kane is in his seventh NHL season after being selected fourth overall by the then-Atlanta Thrashers in the 2009 draft. He has scored 19 or more goals three times, and enjoyed a career-best season in 2011-12, when he had 30 goals, 27 assists for 57 points in 74 games.