NHL considers Evgeny Kuznetsov video matter 'formally closed' after investigation

The NHL will not take any action against Evgeny Kuznetsov after investigating a video that surfaced earlier this week showing the Capitals forward next to lines of a white powdery substance on a hotel room table. 

Kuznetsov has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and the league said via a statement by deputy commissioner Bill Daly that it did not find any evidence to the contrary. 

“Our review included, among other fact-finding steps, an in-person interview with Mr. Kuznetsov,” Daly’s statement read in part. “While we certainly do not condone or endorse some of the decisions he made on the night in question, Mr. Kuznetsov’s account of the events that transpired aligns with other information we have been able to gather, and we have found no basis to question his representations with respect to what did — and what did not — occur. We consider the matter formally closed.”

Kuznetsov, 27, told Russian media outlets earlier this week that the video was shot in Las Vegas last summer after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. But the Washington Post cited a source Friday saying the incident actually occurred during the Caps’ trip to play the Golden Knights in December — hence Kuznetsov’s lack of a playoff beard in the video. 

The young center starred during the Capitals’ run to their first title, leading all players with 32 points and 20 assists during the playoffs. While teammate and countryman Alexander Ovechkin took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, Kuznetsov had just as big an impact for Washington. 

He released a statement via the team Friday that read: “I would like to address the video of me that appeared online on Monday. 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. This was a hard lesson for me to learn.”

The video emerged a day after Kuznetsov helped Russia to a bronze medal at the world championships in Slovakia, defeating the Czech Republic in the third-place game. He had two goals and four assists in the tournament.