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The hockey world was shocked on Sunday when the NHL announced that Vegas Golden Knights and ex-Washington Capitals‘ defenseman Nate Schmidt was suspended 20 games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances program.
On Friday, a couple of Schmidt’s former teammates with the Capitals spoke out about their thoughts on the suspension during the NHL’s Media Tour.
When asked about his former teammate, Capitals’ forward T.J. Oshie was shocked about the suspension.
“I think he’s being very honest that this was out of his hands,” Oshie said. “Knowing Schmidtty and the type of person he is, I can only think that he got the worst run of bad luck you could ever imagine. That’s the nightmare of trying to be healthy and take supplements is something gets tainted in a warehouse that no one would ever have any idea how it happened.”
Capitals’ center Evgeny Kuznetsov said that he knows his former teammate will respond to the adversity.
“We all know he’s [a] nice guy, but at the same time sometimes you have to deal with the bad days in your life,” Kuznetsov said. “You don’t want to be in that situation, but some players in different situations have their bad days, right? … Twenty games are not too much. I think they have a good team.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly called the situation “an unfortunate incident.”
“I think it’s the nature of any performance-enhancing drug policy,” Daly said. “I don’t view Nate’s reaction to this or the club’s reaction to this to be far different than other reactions you see from other athletes in other sports. It’s just the nature of the beast. I think it’s an unfortunate incident. Nate’s a good guy, he’s a great player. I wish it didn’t happen as much as he does.”
Schmidt, who Vegas selected in the expansion draft in 2017 as their pick from the Capitals, will miss the first time the Golden Knights clash against his former team on October 10 at Capital One Arena but will return to the Golden Knights’ lineup on November 18. The Capitals and Golden Knights will play again on Tuesday, December 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
By Harrison Brown