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Four Russian Players Including Ovechkin Suspended by NHL Over COVID-19 Rules Violation

Ovechkin and Russian national teammates Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and top goalie Ilya Samsonov were unavailable to play Wednesday after they had met in a hotel room in Pittsburgh. This violated the NHL rules designating areas where players can interact, a statement from the league read.

"Our training staff has worked extremely hard to create a safe environment for our players and staff to be able to compete this season. We are disappointed by our players' choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas", the Capitals said in a statement.

© AP Photo / Frank Franklin II
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Capitals won 6-4.

Four-time most valuable player Ovechkin also expressed regret over the misdemeanour and said he "will learn from this experience".

This makes the Capitals the first team in the league to be slapped with sanctions over COVID-19 violations.

Elsewhere, the NHL postponed all games involving the Carolina Hurricanes, at least until Saturday, after five of its player were placed on the COVID-19 protocol-related absence list. No further details were shared as to the circumstances of the postponement.

Ovechkin has become a household name since signing a record-breaking deal with the Capitals in 2008, becoming the seventh NHL player to score over 700 goals in his career.

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