WASHINGTON (WDVM) – The Washington Capitals will be without four key players – goalie Ilya Samsonov, forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman Dimitry Orlov – for at least four games, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters Thursday afternoon.
“Players move up the lineup and they assume more minutes and they assume bigger responsibilities. It’s an opportunity for those players to shine,” Laviolette said. “I feel like we still have a real good team on the ice tomorrow and our guys will be excited and they’ll be ready to play.”
According to a report by Samantha Pell of The Washington Post, Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19. Yesterday, the NHL fined the Capitals $100,000 for a violation of COVID-19 protocols. In a statement, the Capitals said that the four players being placed on the list were the ones that violated the protocols and that they gathered together in a hotel room without masks.
The group of players were placed on the league’s COVID-19 related absence list after the league found out that they were all together in the hotel room on the team’s recent road trip.
In the team statement, they accepted their mistakes and Ovechkin said, “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.”
“We all take blame in this,” center Nicklas Backstrom said Thursday. “We’ve got to learn from it and be tighter and follow the protocol.”
While the Caps are owning their actions today, they’re focused on their home opener tomorrow night against Buffalo.
“Those guys want to be here. They want to be in the lineup,” forward T.J. Oshie said. “They feel terrible that they’re not and they put themselves in a situation that they’re not going to be playing with us but for us it’s next man up mentality.”
The next game that the four players could be available to play in is on January 30, when the Caps host Boston.