Varlamov was charged with assault and kidnapping on Thursday in relation to a domestic situation involving his girlfriend on Tuesday. The goaltender turned himself into local authorities on Wednesday and posted $5,000 bail after standing before a judge on Thursday. He is permitted to travel as per the terms of his release and a restraining order has been put into place.
Head coach Patrick Roy pleaded ignorance during his post-practice media availability on Thursday and abstained from comment with the exception of expressing a willingness to heed the wishes of local authorities. Given Varlamov's ability to travel, the organization decided not to recall a goaltender from the American Hockey League.
The decision to start Varlamov is an unconventional one. Obviously, he is innocent until proven guilty, which gives him the right to work like anyone else. But, there's a component of time sensitivity here. Regardless of on-ice performance, this is a serious situation with serious allegations. Playing Varlamov is one thing, but playing him little more than 24 hours after a court appearance is another.
The NHL released a comment from deputy commissioner Bill Daly and will continue to monitor the situation, via Pierre Lebrun:
"At this point, we are monitoring the developing legal situation and do not intend to intervene in that process. There may come a point in time where we feel it is either necessary or appropriate to take a different approach, but that's not where we are right now We are and will remain in close contact with the Club, and will see how the underlying facts unfold."