NHL Star Evgeny Kuznetsov Suspended 4 Years by IIHF for Testing Positive for Cocaine

NHL star Evgeny Kuznetsov will not be playing hockey on the international level anytime soon. According to the Washington Post, Kuznetsov has been suspended from international play by the International Ice Hockey Federation for testing positive for cocaine. As for his status in the NHL, he's not suspended from the league as cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing drug.

"The IIHF has suspended Russian ice hockey player Yevgeni Kuznetsov for a violation of World Anti-Doping Code Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance)," the IIHF said in a statement.

"The case concerns a test indicating a prohibited substance, cocaine, according to section S6.a (non-specified substance) of the World Anti-Doping Code 2019 Prohibited List. The prohibited substance was found in a doping control which occurred on 26 May 2019 at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship."

Kuznetsov released a statement on Friday as soon as the announcement was made.

"Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take," Kuznetsov said. “I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends. From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward."

Kuznetsov is a member of the Washington Capitals and the team wasn't surprised with the announcement. A source close to the situation told the Washington Post the Capitals have been working with Kuznetsov "for a while now."

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Suspicion arose when Kuznetsov appeared in a now-deleted video back in May that showed him sitting a hotel room near lines of a white substance which appears to be cocaine. According to ESPN, the NHL launched an investigation but close the case quickly. Kuznetsov denied taking any drugs in the video.

Kuznetsov, 27, has been with the Capitals since 2013. His best season was in 2017-18 as he scored 27 goals, recorded 56 assists and posted 83 points. That was also the same season the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.

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