NHL clears Capitals' Kuznetsov over video showing powder
WASHINGTON (AP) — The NHL said Friday it has closed its review of Capitals star Evgeny Kuznetsov and a now-deleted video on social media that appears to show him in a hotel room with lines of white powder on a table in front of him.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league interviewed Kuznetsov among its "fact-finding steps."
"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," Daly said. "We consider the matter formally closed."
The video posted on Twitter carried a message saying it was why Russia lost in the world hockey championship semifinals. It showed Kuznetsov talking to someone and lines of white powder and American dollar bills can be seen on the table. Kuznetsov does not touch anything on the table in the 22-second video.
In a statement to Russian news outlet Sport Express, Kuznetsov said the video is from 2018 in Las Vegas after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. In that statement, Kuznetsov said he went to a friend's hotel room, saw drugs and an "unknown women," called a friend and left.
"I never took drugs, give me a drug test and I'll pass it," Kuznetsov told Sport Express after the video surfaced Monday.
The 27-year-old Kuznetsov was Washington's leading scorer in the playoffs when it won the Stanley Cup a year ago. This season, the Russian center had 72 points in 76 games but just one goal during a first-round loss to Carolina.