Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Samsonov of Capitals on COVID-19 protocol list

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Alex Ovechkin is one of four Washington Capitals players on the NHL’s list of players who were unavailable to play or practice Wednesday in accordance with League’s COVID-19 protocols.

Joining the 35-year-old left wing on the list were Capitals center Evgeni Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goalie Ilya Samsonov. 

The NHL fined the Capitals $100,000 on Wednesday for player violations of the League’s COVID 19 protocols which involved social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.

“I regret my choice to spend time together with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room areas,” the Capitals captain said. “I will learn from this experience.”

In a statement, the Capitals revealed the incident involved players interacting in their hotel room during their season-opening four-game road trip.

“Our training staff has worked extremely hard to create a safe environment for our players and staff to be able to compete this season,” the Capitals statement said. “We are disappointed by our players’ choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas. We accept the NHL’s decision and once again will reiterate the COVID-19 Protocols in place to make sure the players are in full compliance moving forward.”

Washington (2-0-2) played its first four games this season on the road, last Thursday and Friday at the Buffalo Sabres, and Sunday and Tuesday at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Capitals had a planned day off Wednesday and are scheduled to practice Thursday. Washington remains scheduled to open a six-game homestand Friday against Buffalo.

Ovechkin has five points (one goal, four assists) in four games this season. The forward has scored 707 NHL goals, one behind Mike Gartner for seventh in history.

Kuznetsov and Orlov have played four games. Samsonov and goalie Vitek Vanecek have alternated starts.

Also Wednesday, the NHL announced the Carolina Hurricanes had all games postponed through at least Saturday after five players were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list Tuesday.

The NHL does not provide precise reasons for COVID protocol-related absences or information on how long a player might be out.

Reasons for a COVID protocol-related absence can include: 1. An initial positive test which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is completed pursuant to the positive test protocol; 2. Mandated isolation for symptomatic individuals pursuant to the positive test protocol; 3. Required quarantine as a high-risk close contact in accordance with the positive test protocol; 4. Isolation based on a confirmed positive test result; and 5. Quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 protocol.

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