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NHL clears the apologetic Kuznetsov after the review

11:51 AM ET

  • Emily KaplanESPN

NHL star Evgeny Kuznetsov eliminated a player from Washington Capitals after a video of him sitting next to a table with two lines of white powder in what appears to be a hotel room came to light.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement on Friday that the league "thoroughly reviewed the situation" and believes the matter is closed.

"While we certainly do not endorse or endorse some of the decisions he made on the night in question, Kuznetsov's account of the events that happened coincides with other information we have been able to gather, and we have not found any basis to question his" Representations with about what happened and what did not happen, "Daly said in a statement.

Kuznetsov also issued a statement through the capitals on Friday.

"Although I have never used illegal drugs in my life and in my career, I would like to publicly apologize to the capitals, my teammates, our fans and everyone else, for putting me in a bad situation," Kuznetsov said. "This was a difficult lesson to learn."

The Capitals said they met with Kuznetsov to discuss the video.

"Although we are disappointed by his presence in the video, we accept his explanation and apology for putting himself in an unfortunate situation," the team said in a statement. "Evgeny has been an excellent player and an active member of our community, and we hope he learns from this experience and respects the standards that the organization has for him as well as his own."

Kuznetsov, 27, has just finished playing for Russia in the world hockey championship in Slovakia. He had two goals and four badists in 10 games when the Russians won the bronze medal.

He led all the players with 32 points (12 goals, 20 badists) in the playoffs last year, which culminated with the Capitals winning the first Stanley Cup in the franchise.

Kuznetsov had 21 goals and 51 badists this season for the Capitals, who were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The NHL tests its players for drugs of abuse, although if a positive test is found, the player is not punished. Instead, representatives of the NHLPA's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program can communicate with a player with positive results and recommend a treatment plan.

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