Capitals

Nastya Ovechkin questions NHL ban of players hanging out in hotel rooms

Capitals

Nastya Ovechkin, the wife of Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, posted an Instagram story Thursday voicing her frustrations with NHL policies that punished her husband for socializing with his teammates in a hotel room.

The NHL fined the Capitals $100,000 on Wednesday for violating COVID-19 protocols by having “social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.” Ovechkin, goalie Ilya Samsonov, forward Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman Dmitry Orlov — the four Russian players on the team — were all subsequently placed on the COVID-19 protocol-related absences list after the fine was announced.

Washington released a statement that said, “We are disappointed by our players’ choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas.” Ovechkin also put out a statement through the team, saying, “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.”

The Capitals were in Pittsburgh this week for a pair of games against the Penguins. NHL protocols for the 2021 season stipulate that players aren’t allowed to congregate in each other’s hotel rooms while on the road.

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In her Instagram story, Nastya appeared to suggest that the Russian players weren’t the only ones in the room, other players have been guilty of the same violation and the rules that ban players from hanging out together but allow them to share a bench and locker room aren’t “logical.” She also added that both Ovechkin and Orlov have coronavirus antibodies.

 

Washington is the first team so far this season to be fined by the NHL for breaking COVID-19 protocols. Its next game is scheduled for Friday against the Buffalo Sabres and the availability of all four Russian players remains in question.