By Sally Fahey
The Caps have confirmed star Evgeny Kuznetsov is shown in 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.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press by spokesman Sergey Kocharov, the team says it is in the process of gathering facts and will have no further comment at this time.
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 “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.
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.
Asked about the video before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL would not have any definitive comments Monday.
“We became aware of the video this afternoon,” Daly said in Boston. “I know Evgeny has already commented on it, and I know the Capitals also released a statement. We need a little more fact gathering to know what our next steps are.”