Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been banned from international hockey for four years, presumably including the 2022 Olympics, after testing positive for cocaine at the world championship in May.
“I have made the decision to accept this penalty,” Kuznetsov said in a statement. “Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. … I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward.”
Kuznetsov, the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs scoring leader in helping the Washington Capitals to the title, is banned from Russian national team play into June 2023 but has not been suspended from the NHL.
Kuznetsov, 27, was on the Russian roster for five world championships since 2012. He was also among the Capitals’ top three points scorers each of the last four seasons.
In May, the NHL and the Capitals investigated a now-deleted social media video that appeared to show Kuznetsov in a hotel room with lines of white powder on a table in front of him. Kuznetsov said then that he had never taken illegal drugs, and he was not punished by the NHL or the Capitals.
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