Russian media outlet Sports.ru is reporting this morning that an agreement in principle has been reached that will allow Capitals’ center Evgeny Kuznetsov to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China in February. Kuznetsov was originally banned from international competition for four years after testing positive for cocaine in 2019.
The report states that the headquarters of the Russian national team managed to reach an agreement in principle with the IIHF on the possibility of reducing Kuznetsov’s suspension and allowing the player to participate in competitions held under the auspices of the organization, reports Metaratings.
It is noted that before the official announcement, the headquarters has to settle the last formalities.
Earlier, the head coach of the Russian national team, Alexei Zhamnov, said that former Washington Capitals forward and Russian Olympic team manager Ilya Kovalchuk was dealing with the issue of reducing Kuznetsov’s disqualification.
It was reported last week that lawyers were working on reducing Kuznetsov’s suspension.
“We are in contact with the player and his agent. Lawyers are engaged. While there is no news, there is nothing to say. There are many legal nuances. If there will be positive shifts – we will share it right away,” Russian Hockey Federation (FHR) executive director Dmitry Kurbatov told reporters.
The first vice-president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (FHR) Roman Rotenberg told the journalists on Sunday that there is no official conclusion on reducing the period of suspension for Kuznetsov.
“FHR lawyers are working. There is no official opinion yet. There should be a case in the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport – TASS), which will deliver a verdict,” Rotenberg said.
The head coach of the Russian national team, Alexei Zhamnov, said in an interview with TASS that the issue of reducing Kuznetsov’s disqualification is being dealt with by the Ilya Kovalchuk. If the period of suspension for Kuznetsov is reduced, he will be able to play in the Olympic hockey tournament.
The IIHF originally suspended Kuznetsov for a violation of World Anti-Doping Code Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance). The case concerned a test indicating a prohibited substance, cocaine, according to section S6.a (non-specified substance) of the World Anti-Doping Code 2019 Prohibited List. The prohibited substance was found in a doping control which occurred on May 26, 2019 at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Kuznetsov has recorded 18 points (5g, 13a) in 14 games this season, which is tied for sixth in the NHL.
By Jon Sorensen