It looks like Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov could be heading Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Per Metaratings.ru, a Russian sports media outlet, the Russian Olympic Committee headquarters reached an agreement “in principle” with the IIHF on possibly reducing Kuznetsov’s suspension and allowing him to play in competitions “held under the auspices of the organization.”
This, in turn, could allow Kuznetsov to play for Team ROC come Feburary. He would join teammate Alex Ovechkin for the games.
The IIHF had banned Kuznetsov from international play for four years following a positive cocaine test in 2019. That suspension will end on June 12, 2023.
Kuznetsov is a new player for the Capitals this season and seems to have put his past struggles behind him. After an inconsistent 2020-21 that saw him test positive for COVID-19 twice, the 29-year-old hit the ground running this year.
READ MORE ON WHN: How Kuznetsov Keeps Expanding Role With Capitals This Season
He came into camp in tremendous shape and shined in training camp and preseason and carried that right over into the 2021-22 campaign. Through 14 games, Kuznetsov has five goals and 18 points. He’s currently on a three-game point streak. Not to mention, he’s not only been crafty and dangerous in the offensive zone, but he’s also skating well on the backcheck and logging key minutes on the penalty kill.
It was one of the years you want to forget, but at the same time, you want to remember,” Kuznetsov said at the beginning of the season. “It is like when you lose the game in the playoffs or any Game 7, you sit in the locker room and feel that pain. And next year, you don’t want to feel that pain again. So you can use that as motivation, you can use that as a target, as a goal. For me, that wasn’t nice.
“When everything good in your life, you are not moving. You are not growing, you are not getting better,” Kuznetsov added. “It is fun to see everything. And I hope in 10 years when I enjoy my life, I will enjoy this time and remember it.”