NHL, Capitals accept Kuznetsov’s explanation of video

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The NHL and the Washington Capitals spent the past week investigating a now-deleted social media video that appeared to show forward Evgeny Kuznetsov in a hotel room with lines of white powder on a table in front of him.

After the video was shared on Monday, Kuznetsov told a Russian news agency that it was from Las Vegas in 2018 following the team’s Stanley Cup victory and that once he saw what was going on, he exited the room.

Kuznetsov is never shown touching or doing anything in the video.

On Friday, the NHL and the Capitals both released statements on the findings of their investigation. While they all share disappointment in Kuznetsov’s presence in the room, they all accept his explanation as to what happened on the night in question.

In the eyes of the league, the matter is now closed.

First, from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly:

“We have thoroughly reviewed the situation surrounding the video circulated on the internet this past Monday, May 27, and involving Capitals’ Player Evgeny Kuznetsov. Our review included, among other fact-finding steps, an in-person interview with Mr. Kuznetsov. While we certainly do not condone or endorse some of the decisions he made on the night in question, Mr. Kuznetsov’s account of the events that transpired aligns with other information we have been able to gather, and we have found no basis to question his representations with respect to what did — and what did not — occur. We consider the matter formally closed.”

From the Capitals…

“In addition to doing our own due diligence, we met with Evgeny to discuss the video circulated on social media. While we are disappointed by his presence in the video, we accept his explanation and apology for putting himself in an unfortunate situation. Evgeny has been a terrific player and an active member of our community, and we expect him to learn from this experience and uphold both the standards the organization has for him as well as his own.”

Finally, from Kuznetsov himself…

“I would like to address the video of me that appeared online on Monday. While I have never taken illegal drugs in my life and career, I would like to publicly apologize to the Capitals, my teammates, our fans and everyone else, for putting myself in a bad situation. This was a hard lesson for me to learn.”

The 27-year-old Kuznetsov has spent his entire NHL career with the Capitals. Following their Round 1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes this season, he represented Russia at the 2019 World Championships.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.