The Washington Capitals will be without their star winger Alex Ovechkin and three other players over the next four games.
The news was confirmed by the team’s head coach Peter Laviolette, who said that Ovechkin, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, goalie Ilya Samsonov, and defenseman Dmitry Orlov were placed on the league’s unavailable list as part of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.
Reportedly, Samsonov recently tested positive for COVID-19, and this led to a contact-tracing investigation. It turned out that Samsonov, Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Orlovand hung out in a hotel room together without wearing masks or respecting the social distancing rules.
The Capitals were sanctioned $100,000 as a result, and all four players won’t be able to make it to the ice for at least one week. The earliest they could return is at a home game against the Boston Bruins on January 31st.
“We totally understand why the rules are in place, and there’s no arguing with that,” Laviolette told reporters on Thursday. “We knew the rules. We’re not sitting here saying that we were uninformed or we weren’t aware. We need to do a better job.”
After opening the 2020-21 NHL season with two wins, the Capitals now find themselves on a two-game losing streak. Both of those losses came in overtime.