Sunday, Evgeny Kuznetsov returned to the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for the first time in 13 days. Now the Russian center’s officially off the NHL’s COVID-19 Unavailability List.
Shortly after 5 PM, the NHL removed Kuznetsov’s name from protocol.
Only three players were on the list today, which includes former Capital Nathan Walker who now plays for St. Louis.
COVID Protocol Related Absences – May 16, 2021:
Boston – none
Calgary – none
Carolina – none
Colorado – none
Edmonton – none
Florida – none
Minnesota – none
Montreal – none
Nashville – none
NY Islanders – none
Pittsburgh – none
St. Louis – David Perron; Nathan Walker; Jake Walman
Tampa Bay – none
Toronto – none
Vancouver – none
Vegas – none
Washington – none
Winnipeg – none
Capitals’ head coach Peter Laviolette gave an update on the status of both Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov earlier in the day after the team’s skate. Laviolette was expecting the Capitals star center to remain in protocol for several more days.
“Samsonov is off the list. He’s available,” Laviolette said. “Kuznetsov still remains not available to us for a few more days however he is available to start a process of getting back with our group and working out by the rules. Both players join us on the ice for the first time today.”
It’s unclear when either player will return to game action in the playoffs.
“We’re going to evaluate and see where they’re at,” Laviolette said. “I have no timetables. They’ve been off for pushing close to two weeks in regard to being on the ice and working out and conditioning. We’re going to evaluate them over the next couple days and try to get a read on where they’re at.”
Before landing in protocol, Kuznetsov and Samsonov were suspended by the team for disciplinary reasons. Reportedly, the players were sidelined due to being late for a team function. Laviolette later suggested the players could be suspended multiple games by the team before the NHL put the two Russians in protocol.