Today NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has rendered his decision on Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov who was recently suspended for four years by the IIHF for testing positive for cocaine.
Per the League announcement that was rendered this morning Kuznetsov has been suspended for the first three regular season games of the 2019-20 season due to inappropriate conduct as determined by Bettman after meeting with Kuznetsov in person this past Monday, September 9th.
Kuznetsov will miss games against St. Louis, New York Islanders, and Carolina. Kuznetsov has also informed the League through the NHLPA that he will not be appealing his suspension.
The NHL screwed up here. This should have been a ten game suspension. While three games is admirable for the inappropriate conduct that Kuznetsov displayed it still does not deal with the bigger issue at hand and that is the League has a cocaine issue and they should have used Kuznetsov to send a message to the rest of the League that they are taking this matter with more seriousness than they are now.
Hopefully Kuznetsov has learned from this ordeal, and when he returns from his three game suspension he’ll be back to being the Kuznetsov that helped lead the Capitals to the 2018 Stanley Cup.
*Updated at 11:05a ET with statement from Evgeny Kuznetsov as released by the Washington Capitals.