A video posted to Twitter on Monday by user @Thesavspb appears to show Evgeny Kuznetsov in a hotel room with several lines of what looks like cocaine.
There are few details and many questions about the video. It is unclear when the video was recorded (though Kuznetsov is wearing a Stanley Cup playoffs shirt). It is unclear who recorded the video (though another man’s voice is heard), where the video was shot, or who the woman in the bed behind Kuznetsov is.
The white powder arranged into lines on the table next to rolled-up American dollars appears to be cocaine. The video appears to have come from an Instagram Story.
Kuznetsov is not seen using cocaine in the clip.
On Sunday, Kuznetsov and Team Russia won bronze at the 2019 World Championship tournament in Bratislava, Slovakia.
In 2015, Kings forward Jarrett Stoll pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. Later that year, NHL deputy commissioner admitted to TSN, “the number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up.” Since 2017, NHL players have been tested for cocaine, though testing remains an opaque, scattershot process. In March, former Philadelphia Flyers player Jori Lehtera was convicted of cocaine possession.
We have contacted the Washington Capitals about this story. They have not made a comment at this time.
Update, 4:30 PM: Kuznetsov has issued a statement to sport-express.ru. In the statement, Kuznetsov denies using cocaine and says the video was taken last summer in Las Vegas. Below is a translation by RMNB’s Igor Kleyner:
Yes, I saw the video on the internet. I don’t necessarily have anything to do with what is going on around me. I never used drugs and have no intention to get into it. If there are any questions, I am ready to undergo testing.
The video is a year old. It happened in summer of 2018, when we won the cup in Vegas. It has nothing to do with the World Championship at all. I just came by the room where some people I knew stayed. When I saw what was going on there – unfamiliar women, unknown substances on the table – I called my friend and left as soon as I could.
Unfortunately, someone decided to catch some notoriety just now – after the [Russian team] lost. I have nothing to hide, let this be on conscience of whoever posted the video.
Update, 5:30 PM: A Capitals spokesman told RMNB this in a statement. “We are aware of the video that surfaced on social media of Evgeny Kuznetsov. We are currently in the process of gathering facts and will have no further comment at this time.”
Update, 10:00 PM: The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan has spoken to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly who says the NHL will investigate the Kuznetsov video.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said it's too soon to comment on Kuznetsov. NHL will do its own fact-finding mission.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 27, 2019
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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