Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov is entering a drug counseling program after the International Ice Hockey Federation suspended him four years for testing positive for cocaine use during May’s world championships.
Kuznetsov, 27, is banned from playing in any international tournaments until June 23, 2023. That would include the 2022 Olympics should the NHL chose to allow its players to attend.
In a statement released by Capitals, Kuznetsov said he accepts the penalty.
“Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in,” Kuznetsov said. “Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends.
“From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. 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.”
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