Capitals' Kuznetsov suspended after positive cocaine test

Kuznetsov

Kuznetsov

The Russian centre tested positive for cocaine use at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in May and was suspended from all global competition until 2023.

Originally, there was expected to be no NHL suspension from the positive drug test, and Kuznetsov had voluntarily joined the league's education and counselling program and would be subject to a regular testing protocol.

"We've been in contact since this all started", MacLellan said from behind his desk at the team's Ballston headquarters. Kuznetsov said in his first comments to the media since the IIHF announced the positive test on August 23.

Kuznetsov, 27, is under contract with the Capitals through 2024-25 and competes internationally for Russian Federation, which won the bronze medal in May. Thanks to the Capitals, NHL, and NHLPA, I have taken many steps in the right direction and I'm confident that I will continue on that path.

Khurshudyan reports that Kuznetsov met with league officials on Monday, and that the meeting "likely centered on how Kuznetsov apparently misled league officials in late May, when a video of Kuznetsov sitting beside two lines of a white powdery substance during a team trip to Las Vegas last season circulated on social media". Unlike the National Hockey League, the IIHF considers cocaine a performance-enhancing drug.

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Washington visits defending champion St. Louis in the season opener October 2. I am grateful for everyone's support and I'm looking to move forward from this point.

"I don't know, it just feels like I spend a lot of time over there, watching some pictures or whatever and then you get so addicted to some comments or people, you know?" he said. The Capitals finished the regular season at 48-26-8, but fell to Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs.

Though Kuznetsov's suspension will be relatively short, it will still put the Capitals in a bind.

The 27-year-old Kuznetsov was selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Capitals and has 101 goals and 236 assists in his six seasons in Washington. Kuznetsov is coming off an inconsistent season, with 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists) in 76 games and six points (one goal, five assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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