WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin and three other Washington Capitals players were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 list Wednesday and the team was fined $100,000 by the league for violating coronavirus protocols, including a gathering in a hotel room.
In addition to three-time MVP Ovechkin — one of just eight players in NHL history with more than 700 goals — the Capitals joining the COVID-19 list were center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and top goalie Ilya Samsonov.
“I regret my choice to spend time together with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room areas,” Ovechkin said in a statement issued by the Capitals. “I will learn from this experience.”
The Capitals themselves said they were “disappointed by our players’ choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas.” Saying it accepts the NHL’s decision, the team vowed to “reiterate the COVID-19 protocols in place to make sure the players are in full compliance moving forward.”
Five players from the Carolina Hurricanes also are on the league’s COVID-19 list, and that team’s games were called off by the league through “at least” Saturday.
The postponements were announced Wednesday, a day before the Hurricanes were set to host the Florida Panthers in their home opener. The teams were scheduled to play again Saturday.
The NHL said the Hurricanes’ training facilities are closed and will stay that way “until further notice.” The league is reviewing and revising Carolina’s schedule.
The Capitals were punished by the league for “social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.”
This is the first instance this season of Capitals players appearing on the NHL’s COVID-19 list, which could include those who test positive, have a potential exposure or face quarantine requirements.
Being on that list would make Ovechkin and the others unavailable for practice, but it is possible that they could be allowed back with the team in time to play in Washington’s next game, which is Friday against the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
Washington has played four games so far, going 2-0-2.