Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov spoke to the press on Thursday for the first time since being suspended by the team for disciplinary reasons and landing in COVID protocol for nearly two weeks.
During the chat, Kuznetsov gave insight into his quarantine, which kept him out of Games One and Two of the Capitals’ first-round series against the Boston Bruins.
Kuznetsov revealed that he ended up contracting COVID-19 for a second time.
“I was tested positive for coronavirus,” Kuznetsov said, but he did not address how or why. “If you want to talk about this, I’m always open [and] free and we will talk at end of year. Right now, I think it’s more important that we keep it about hockey.”
The Russian center said his symptoms, “this time was much better. I been there before and recover quick and join the team.
“It’s funny you know, they said not a lot of people get it twice,” he added. “It wasn’t easy to be in hockey shape right away after you sit in the house. Emotions was high. For this type of games, you always feel extra energy. You’ve been waiting for those types of games. You always enjoy it. Physically, maybe it was little hard today but I hope I’m gonna get better every day. I’m gonna skate more and more. I’m gonna get in hockey shape much quicker than usually guys do.”
Kuznetsov played 26:41 in his first game back while Samsonov made 40 saves in the double-overtime loss. The start was Samsonov’s first since May 1. He was in net for 85 minutes and 45 seconds. He ended up with the loss after having a miscue with Justin Schultz behind the net.
“Sometimes we have that situation behind the net but we fixed this one,” Samsonov said. “We will better next time. More communication, more talking about, will (be) better.”
He said that his teammates were supportive and encouraging after the game. “Coaches, everybody. Game much easy with their support.”
Samsonov said he learned of his Game Three start “a couple days ago” suggesting that Peter Laviolette and the team were going to the young Russian regardless of Craig Anderson’s performance.
“I feel good. I am ready for everything,” Samsonov said. “I get practice every day. I feel pretty good right now.”
Both players opted not to use the opportunity to address why they were suspended by the team.
“I think we should focus on hockey right now,” Kuznetsov said.
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