NHL closes investigation, Capitals' Kuznetsov cleared

The NHL finished its review of a potentially scandalous video involving Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and considers the matter closed.
“We have thoroughly reviewed the situation surrounding the video circulated on the internet this past Monday, May 27, and involving Capitals’ Player Evgeny Kuznetsov,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Friday.

Evgeny Kuznetsov
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

“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.”
The video, which emerged Monday, apparently showed Kuznetsov seated next to a table with two lines of white powder with rolled-up U.S. dollar bills.
Kuznetsov, however, gave a statement to Russian media outlet Sport Express, saying in part, “I don’t necessarily have anything to do with what is going on around me. I never used drugs and have no intention to get into it. If there are any questions, I am ready to undergo testing.
“I just came by the room where some people I knew stayed. When I saw what was going on there — unfamiliar women, unknown substances on the table — I called my friend and left as soon as I could.”
Kuznetsov also released a statement Friday, apologizing to the team and fans.
“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,” Kuznetsov said.
Kuznetsov, 27, scored 12 goals and added 20 assists in the Capitals’ playoff run to the 2018 title. That followed a 2017-18 season in which he compiled career highs in goals (27) and points (83) in 79 games.
This season, Kuznetsov finished with 21 goals and 51 assists in 76 regular-season games. He added one goal and five assists as the Capitals lost in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)

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