The announcement from the International Ice Hockey Federation that Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was suspended for four years from participating in international play after testing positive for a banned substance was a big one that rippled through the hockey world. Shortly after the announcement, both Kuznetsov and the Capitals released statements on the matter.
The Capitals released the following subject and made it clear that the team will not have any further comment on the matter as a result of the sensitivity of the issue at hand:
“We are aware of the positive test result and related international sanction that has been imposed on Evgeny Kuznetsov. We are disappointed with this development and take this occurrence seriously. We understand that Evgeny has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program. In addition, we are committed to ensuring he has the necessary support required to work through this situation. We will remain in contact with the NHL as they determine the next steps. Because of the sensitive nature surrounding this matter, there will be no further comment from us at this time.”
Kuznetsov also released a statement, committing to taking responsibility for actions going forward and regretting the suspension from international play:
“Recently, the IIHF notified me that, due to a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for four years. I have made the decision to accept this penalty. Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends. From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward.”
Kuznetsov entered the NHL’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program voluntarily and will meet with league Commissioner Gary Bettman prior to the beginning of training camp.
By Michael Fleetwood