By Ian Oland
The NHL announced on Wednesday that four of the Capitals’ biggest stars – Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuzetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Ilya Samsonov – were all placed on the NHL’s COVID unavailability list due to hanging out together in a hotel room during their recent road trip, violating the league’s “no individual shall permit guests” protocol. The Capitals were also fined $100,000.
Days earlier on January 17, Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke to Sport Express’s Alexey Shevchenko and revealed that the Capitals were “strictly warned” after their first game of the season against the Buffalo Sabres.
Here’s the relevant part of the interview via Google Translate:
Let’s go back to America. I’m surprised that your coaching staff is wearing masks. In the KHL, this item was removed immediately during the preseason matches.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Moreover, I will say that all hockey players must wear masks in the locker room.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: These are the league rules that must be followed. If something does not suit you, then there was an opportunity to refuse to participate in the season. I don’t like being masked in the locker room, I don’t like other conditions – take a break, no one will say a word to you. But if you decide to play, then follow all the rules. I only take off the mask in the car when I drive home. But even on a training rink, wearing it is mandatory.
You say the right words. But it’s strange, with so many tests, to wear a mask half the time.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Do you know that our club has already been strictly warned for breaking the rules?
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Someone either said or saw that after the match we were sitting in the locker room without masks. Well, it flew in from the league instantly. I wonder who the rat is?
So a video from the dressing room after the victory appeared on the Capitals’ Twitter.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Yeah, got it. But as an excuse, I will say that we did not deliberately violate (the protocols), but simply forgot. The first game, the first victory, there was no time for masks, emotions overwhelmed.
The video Kuznetsov is referring to is the one where the Capitals gave out Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do headbands to the offensive and defensive players of the game.
Pain does not exist in this dojo.#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/xONJnNyZVh
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 15, 2021
It appears after that advice wasn’t heeded, the NHL went the nuclear route to send a message to the Capitals to take the protocols more seriously.
Headline photo: Miranda Rosenfelt/RMNB
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