Capitals fined $100,000 for COVID protocol violations, will lose Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov

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The Washington Capitals became the first NHL team to get slapped with a fine for breaking COVID protocols this season. As a result, they will have to pay $100,000 and lose some players to the “protocol absences list.”

Among the players lost include Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov. The team released a statement Wednesday expressing their disappointment in the players that broke protocol.

Our training staff has worked extremely hard to create a safe environment for our players and staff to be able to compete this season. 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.

Ovechkin also released a personal statement giving an apology for his role in breaking protocol, which led to this punishment and his absence in upcoming games.

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

It’s not entirely clear whether the league response to this outbreak is a result of the team coming forward with news of this intrasquad hotel interaction, or someone reporting it to the league. It’s also not clear if the lack of fines for other clubs — the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Panthers, Wild, Predators, Devils, Islanders, Flyers, Lightning and Jets all had players on the COVID protocol absence list — is due to not having a direct incident to point to as to why players were on that list to begin with.

As of this posting, the Capitals are still scheduled to play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.

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