With all the awards and accolades the Washington Capitals have accumulated over the years; they now earn another distinction that no team wanted: the first team to break the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.
On Wednesday, the NHL announced that the Capitals were being fined to the tune of $100,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols due to “social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.”
After the fine was initially announced, rumours began to circulate as to which players were involved with the situation, however, it didn’t take long for them to be revealed.
Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov, Dmitry Orlov, and Evgeny Kuznetsov were the four players revealed to be involved in the social gathering, which occurred in a hotel room without masks or being socially distant.
The four Capitals players are now marked as being “unavailable” due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols and there is no telling how long that they will be out of the lineup for.
There’s no information as to whether or not any of the players have contracted COVID-19 because being on the list doesn’t mean that they have tested positive. Reasons for being on the NHL’s COVID-19 list can range from testing positive for the virus to just having a high-risk of exposure.
Shortly after the names of the four players were released, the Capitals released a statement regarding the situation.
“We are disappointed by our players’ choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas,” the team’s statement read, adding that they accept the NHL’s decision to fine them.
Ovechkin released a statement along with the team’s, saying that he regrets his decision and will learn from this experience.
It’s still unclear when the incident happened or if any other players on the Capitals will be added to the league’s COVID-19 list.
The Capitals are still scheduled to play their 2020-21 home opener against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday at 7 pm ET.
Even though the Capitals are the first team to be fined this season for the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, they are not the only ones to have their locker room disrupted by the virus.
The Carolina Hurricanes were supposed to play the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night, but the game was cancelled due to four of the club’s players joining Jordan Staal on the COVID-19 list.
On Wednesday, the NHL announced that the Hurricane’s Thursday and Saturday games against the Florida Panthers were being postponed until further notice.
The Hurricanes have only played two games so far this season due to COVID-related postponements.
The club will not play again until Tuesday, Jan. 26 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the earliest. There is also no indication as to if and when the Hurricanes will play their postponed games.