Washington Capitals star Evgeny Kuznetsov has denied ever using drugs after a video surfaced of him sitting next to a table on which there are two lines of white powder in what appears to be a hotel room.
Kuznetsov told the Russian media site Sport-Express that the video was taken last summer after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup and that he left the room as soon as possible after seeing unfamiliar women there and strange substances on the table.
Kuznetsov said he has never used drugs and was ready to undergo a medical examination to prove it.
The Capitals issued a statement that reads: "We are aware of the video that surfaced on social media of Evgeny Kuznetsov. We are currently in the process of gathering facts and will have no further comment at this time."
"I hesitate to use the term investigation because it's a fairly ambiguous word. Obviously, we have to understand the facts and circumstances. I wouldn't call it a formal investigation," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday. "There are a lot of questions I would have about the situation. Obviously, he's acknowledged being in the room with whatever it is. But I don't know whatever it is 'is,' and he claims not to have used whatever it is. So on that basis, I'm not going to convict him of anything."
Kuznetsov, 28, just finished playing for Russia in the World Hockey Championships in Slovakia. He had two goals and four assists in 10 games as the Russians won the bronze medal.
He led all players with 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, which culminated with the Capitals beating the Vegas Golden Knights in five games to win their first Cup.
Kuznetsov had 21 goals and 51 assists this season for the Capitals, who lost their first-round playoff series to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.