Earlier today, the NHL announced that Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov would be suspended no more than three games for “inappropriate conduct” related to his positive drug test for cocaine through the International Ice Hockey Federation. After releasing his own statement on the suspension, Kuznetsov spoke to the media from the Capitals’ Training Camp at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
At the start of his press conference, Kuznetsov his appreciation for the support provided by the NHL, NHL Player’s Association, the Capitals, his teammates, and fans, stating his desire to grow as a person and learn from his mistake.
Kuznetsov made it clear that his performance on the ice is the best way to prove he has learned from his ordeal this summer, saying:
“I can do more to prove that there was support for a reason, and be downtown every night and do my best for the team”
Following this answer, Kuznetsov was asked how he can move on from the suspension and his situation, and made it clear that he understands what needs to be done in order to prove he has grown from it, telling The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, “…There is always challenges in your life and for me this opportunity is pretty clear”. Kuznetsov also said that anything he says to the team or them to him will be kept behind closed doors.
The biggest takeaway from Kuznetsov’s press conference was that he is intent on looking forward and proving to his teammates, the team, and everyone around him that he can be the player they think he can be, saying:
“I want to move forward and I feel bad for my friends, my teammates, the organization, and the fans that they have to deal with this news and I will pay back more than people give me right now…All I want to change is to bounce back from 70 points last season”.
Capitals Head Coach also commented on Kuznetsov’s suspension telling Brian McNally of NBC Sports Washington and Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic that how he responds to the suspension will be a “career-defining time” for him.
#Caps coach Todd Reirden was very blunt: Says this is a “career defining” time for Evgeny Kuznetsov. How he responds to this suspension dictates direction he goes.— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) September 14, 2019
Video of Reirden’s comments:
“I think it’s a career defining time in his life.” — Todd Reirden on Evgeny Kuznetsov. #Caps pic.twitter.com/8MhP6GcqYH— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) September 14, 2019
By Michael Fleetwood
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