The NHL announced on Wednesday that it had fined the Capitals $ 100,000 for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols. The issue was with social interactions between team members who were in close contact and not wearing face coverings, according to a short statement.
Soon after, the squad had four members – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Samsonov – on the list of NHL players not available to train or play in a game due to COVID protocols.
On Wednesday evening, the team released statements further illuminating the rules that had been broken.
“I regret my choice to spend time with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room. I will learn from this experience,” said Ovechkin, the Capitals captain and star forward.
The team added a note of its own: “Our coaching staff have worked very hard to create a safe environment for our players and staff to compete this season. We are disappointed with the choice of our players from interact in their hotel room and outside of team-approved areas. We accept the NHL’s decision and will once again reiterate the COVID-19 protocols in place to ensure players are in full compliance with the ‘to come up. “
COVID-19 CASE TRACKER: Updated list of players to miss matches during the 2021 season
Although all four players are on the COVID protocol absences list, that doesn’t necessarily mean there was a positive test in the squad. Those on the list could also be absent due to high-risk close contact, an unconfirmed positive test, COVID-19-like symptoms or travel-related quarantine.
Prior to the start of the season, the NHL published several comprehensive protocol books describing what was and what was not acceptable conduct during the season. While it contains information on players wearing face masks and keeping at least six feet away, it also includes a section on club travel protocol. As part of this protocol, it clearly states: No individual should allow guests or other staff in their room (except maintenance or engineering staff, as needed, which departments should be provided when people are not present in the room).
The Capitals were off Wednesday (it was a previously scheduled day off) after playing Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. They aren’t expected to play again until Friday, when they host the Sabers in the home opener to start a six-game home game. It has not been determined whether this game, or the next ones, will continue or not.
SCHEDULE CHANGES: List of games postponed, rescheduled due to COVID-19
The news comes a day after the Hurricanes-Predators game was postponed, as four Canes players joined Jordan Staal on the team’s COVID protocol absences list. Carolina games from Wednesday to Saturday January 23 have been postponed. The Stars had their first four games postponed after 17 payers tested positive during training camp.