Nick Wass/AP Photo
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin.
Nick Wass/AP Photo
The Washington Capitals have been fined $100,000 for violating the National Hockey League's COVID-19 protocols, and captain Alex Ovechkin, along with three other players — Evgeni Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov — have now been marked as unavailable to practice or play.
There were "social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings," according to a statement from the league. The Capitals said that some players were interacting in their hotel room instead of in the team's "approved areas" for social interaction.
"I regret my choice to spend time together with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room areas. I will learn from this experience," Ovechkin said in a statement.
The team wrote in a statement that it was "disappointed by our players' choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas."
"We accept the NHL's decision and once again will reiterate the COVID-19 Protocols in place to make sure the players are in full compliance moving forward," the statement added.
According to the league's COVID-19 travel protocols, each member of the team's traveling party must stay in a single-occupancy room, "and no individual shall permit guests or other personnel in their room." Teams can arrange for a dedicated common area or lounge that players can use exclusively, provided that it's big enough for proper physical distancing.
The violations of the COVID-19 protocols happened on the Capitals' recent four-game road trip. The team is scheduled to have its home opener against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, and it's currently unclear if Ovechkin and the other players on the absence list will be available to play.
It's also not currently clear if any of the Caps players have tested positive for the virus: According to the league, reasons for a COVID-19 protocol-related absence can include a positive test result, symptoms of the coronavirus, high-risk close contact with other people, or "quarantine for travel or other reasons as outlined in the COVID-19 protocol."
The Caps are not the only D.C. sports team to be struggling with coronavirus or COVID-19 protocols. The Washington Wizards have been dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, and the league has had to postpone six of their last games because of it. Only eight of the team's players were available for practice on Wednesday.
This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.