The NHL suspended Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov for three games without pay for what it termed inappropriate conduct.
The suspension stems from a positive test for cocaine at the 2019 IIHF World Championships on May 26. The International Ice Hockey Federation already banned him from international competition for four years. The ban took effect on June 13, 2019.
Kuznetsov and NHLPA representatives met with commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday.
In a statement issued through the Capitals on Saturday, Kuznetsov said he will not appeal the league’s ruling.
“I have decided to accept the NHL’s suspension today. I am once again sorry that I have disappointed my family, my teammates, and the Capitals organization and fans. I promise to do everything in my power to win you back with my actions both on and off the ice,” he said. “I also understand that I am fortunate to have an opportunity to make things right.
“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. I am grateful for everyone’s support and I’m looking to move forward from this point. While I can appreciate that people may have additional questions, I will not be commenting further on this matter.”
Kuznetsov, 27, will be eligible to return to international play on June 12, 2023, meaning he cannot participate for his homeland, Russia, in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The ban didn’t apply to his status with the Capitals. Under the NHL and NHLPA’s joint Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, players are not suspended for positive tests for marijuana or cocaine.
The Capitals’ first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Kuznetsov played in 76 games last season and tallied 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists). In his career, he’s played in 416 games, scoring 337 points (101 goals, 236 assists).
—Field Level Media