Dirty Bird: IIHF Suspends Kuznetsov for Cocaine (Updated) | Pittsburgh Hockey Now
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Dirty Bird: IIHF Suspends Kuznetsov for Cocaine (Updated)



Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has received a four-year ban by the IIHF for use of a banned substance during the 2019 World Championships. According to the IIHF press release the substance was cocaine and was found in samples which were collected during the 2019 World Championships in May.

Cocaine is violation of World Anti-Doping Code Article 2.1. Kuznetsov did not request additional tests of his B-sample. His suspension will conclude in June 2023. Earlier this summer, a video surfaced of Kuznetsov sitting near two lines of white powder in a hotel room. The NHL and Washington Capitals accepted Kuznetsov’s explanation and called the matter, “formally closed.”

“While I have never taken illegal drugs in my life and career, I would like to publicly apologize to the Capitals, my teammates, our fans and everyone else for putting myself in a bad situation,” Kuznetsov said via a statement in May.

Kuznetsov, 27, scored perhaps the biggest goal in Washington history when his tally eliminated their arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins in a Game 6 overtime of the 2018 Round Two series. The goal ended the Penguins two-year Stanley Cup championship reign and propelled the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup win. Kuznetsov also earned praise and derision for his “Dirty Bird’ goal celebration during the championship run.

It is unclear if Kuznetsov will face a suspension in the NHL. He will likely be contacted by the NHL Substance Abuse program, though such matters are typically private. Last season, the Russian winger scored  72 points (21g, 51a) in 76 games.

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UPDATE: Statement from Bill Daly, Deputy NHL Commissioner

Per NHL Media Relations:

“We have been fully briefed by the IIHF with respect to the positive test result and related international sanction that has been imposed on WashingtonCapitals’ Player Evgeny Kuznetsov.

“Unlike the IIHF, cocaine is not considered a performance enhancing drug and is therefore not a Prohibited Substance under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.  Instead, it is considered a drug of abuse that is tested for and for which intervention, evaluation and mandatory treatment can occur in appropriate cases.

“Here, we understand that Mr. Kuznetsov has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program.

“Mr. Kuznetsov has also agreed to an in-person meeting with Commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss his situation and review his conduct prior to the start of Training Camp preceding the 2019-20 season. We intend to reserve further comment on any additional actions that may or may not be taken with respect to today’s announcement (disciplinary or otherwise) pending the completion of the Commissioner’s meeting with Mr. Kuznetsov.”

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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  1. BIG B

    August 23, 2019 at 11:36 am

    So now we know why he does the dirty bird–To get high as a kite.
    I miss the Caps i miss OVI its lonely doin coke
    And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
    ‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
    I’m not the man they think I am at home
    Oh, no, no, no.
    I’m the DIRTY BIRD.

    I am sure if he was a Pen’s player the Cap’s fans would on twitter blaming Sid so i say what kind of Captain is Ovi to let this happen?

  2. Gary Church

    August 23, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    This is to hard to believe??? Suspended for 4 yrs.??? Just can’t be true. I condone the use of drugs by anyone, but 4 yrs.??? Has he been caught before and was he suspended??? Someone must know what is going on, or not.

  3. Hatrick Pornqvist

    August 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    So that overtime goal obviously shouldn’t count and we get the Stanley Cup. It’s only fair.

  4. Matt Luda

    August 23, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    The NHL must to do what is fair and right — take away the 2017 Cup from the Capitals because of an illegal player and declare no winner that year. Which means the Pens are three-peat champs by default. #JustDoIt

    • DC Penguins Fan

      August 24, 2019 at 12:17 am

      As an added bonus, all the Caps names will be removed from the Cup including the name of That Punk Wilson

  5. Matt Luda

    August 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Make that the 2018 Cup, of course.

    • Hatrick Pornqvist

      August 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      Somebody already took the cup away from them in ‘17. He’s a goaltender for Vegas now.

  6. Josh

    August 24, 2019 at 7:11 am

    I’ve been critical of this site in the past, several times…and for good reason. All of which I hope that I have fully explained in whatever post I was making at the time.
    However there is no need for an explanation on this post, nor are my comments in any way negative today because I’ve got to give MAJOR PROPS for the BEST HEADLINE to a story EVER! Simply PERFECT!
    That stupid dirty bird crap was SOOO ridiculous and annoying. It always made me wonder why he did something that has nothing to do with the team or player, was a straight up ripoff of many NFL guys who, and showed that dude is either to ignorant to come up with his own celebration, is clueless in picking the absolute single dumbest most ridiculous NFL TD dance of all time or is ignorant in wanting to emulate NFL players (who at least were original).
    Seems he took the whole following of certain NFL players celebrations to seriously and decided to emulate the post game rituals.
    So to see this headline perfectly using the dirty bird moniker is just priceless.
    At least now when he does it, he can claim it having meaning
    I’ve also gotta say that this guy is young, one helluva talent and has the potential for a lengthy career with possible HOF type potential and to see this confirmed after the video this summer leaves one hoping that this is something that is not catching him already far into an addiction. I am hopeful that being caught and the headlines and embarrassment that goes with it is the proverbial “nipping it in the bud”
    I am hoping that the guy is just young and dumb like so many of us were and made a few poor choices rather than just dumb and reckless. And being young and dumb it sometimes can take a hammer to the head in order to catch that attention that in others maybe a whisper would suffice.
    I obviously don’t know the guy but am praying that this is enough of a wakeup call that, hockey or no hockey, if this is truly already a huge issue that he puts it first in his life and treats it like the priority that it is. And if it is only recreational, this is enough of a slap to get him to think straight and see the potential consequences of where a few poor decisions can lead…enough to get him to pull his head out of his butt and see that LEARNING from the dumb things we have done in our youth, that made us young and dumb can be the advantage called wisdom as we age and keeps us(hopefully) from being old and dumb…or even worse, prevents us from even getting there.

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