Despite charges of assault and kidnapping, which resulted in Varlamov spending a night in jail and standing before a judge on Thursday morning, the Avalanche have decided to attempt a return to normalcy by allowing their No. 1 goaltender to return to work. Of course, Varlamov is innocent until proven guilty and has the right to live his life.
"We're all aware of what happened, but we just feel that he's our guy. We have confidence in him and feel that it's good for him to play tonight.
[. . .]
The players have to support him as well, hockey-wise. The players need to play a good game in front of him, just like we've done since the start of the season. None of us are making any judgment until this (legal) process is going to be over."
According to Dater, Roy compared the decision to when he was traded to the Avalanche in 1995 and started in a game the following night, once again citing his mantra of "why wait?" Varlamov's situation, however, is far more significant and exceptionally more serious.
The decision to go with Varlamov so soon after the incident is one that will spark debate. There's nothing stopping the Avalanche from playing him, but there is an element of time sensitivity involved, something that the team is clearly unconcerned with. Based upon Roy's statement, it seems as though the organization views this as a way of supporting an employee in a troubling place.
Beyond that, it's perplexing to think how Varlamov will mentally be able to focus on the task at hand with so much going on. It's expected that Jean Sebastien-Giguere will start against Montreal on Saturday night, when the Avalanche will retire Adam Foote's jersey.