IIHF announced on Friday the banning of Washinton Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov. He tested positive for cocaine during the World Championship in 26th May. He will now be allowed to return to international hockey games from June 12th 2023. He will not take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Kuznetsov, 27 years old, has participated in six out of eight World Championship dating back in 2012. He initially represented Russia in World Junior Championship.
Speaking via Capitals, Kuznetsov said that he had accepted the suspension. He acknowledged that representing his country has been something close to his heart. And that being not able to take part in any championship for his country will be something hard to take. He also lamented for disappointing his teammates, friends, and family.
The NHL is yet to give a directive whether it will take disciplinary action against Kuznetsov. But deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated that the league is unlikely to take action. He said that that the league does not consider cocaine as a performance-enhancing substance. He also added that he is undergoing a voluntarily counseling program provided by NHL and NHLP.
Bill also said that Kuznetsov is also scheduled to meet with Commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss the situation and review his conduct before the training camp began. He avoided making any further comment on any action before the commissioner meeting with Kuznetsov.
Kuznetsov started his career with KHL; he joined Washington in the 2013-14 season. He has a record of 20 assists and 32 posts in the playoffs. He led players in 2018 Stanley Cup, though he was outshined by his countryman Alexander Ovechkin in Conn Trophy polling.