The Buffalo Sabres are scheduled to play in Washington on Friday and Sunday, but their opponent could be without several key pieces, as there is now a COVID-19 situation with the Capitals.
Four Capitals players have been placed on the National Hockey League's COVID- Related Absence list, including Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and starting netminder Ilya Samsonov.
In addition, the NHL has fined the Capitals $100,000 for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols. The league's statement on the matter is as follows:
"The National Hockey League announced today that it has fined the Washington Capitals $100,000 for player violations of the league's COVID-19 protocols which involved social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings."
In a team statement, the Capitals said the players involved interacted in a hotel room and outside of team approved areas during their recent four-game road trip.
Here is the Capitals' statement, as well as a statement from Ovechkin:
In terms of on-ice impact, the Sabres may have the benefit of playing a weakened Capitals squad on Friday and Sunday, without two of their best offensive players, one of their best defensemen, and their presumed No. 1 goaltender.
When speaking with the media on Thursday, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said that all four of his players that were placed on the COVID-Related Absence list are in quarantine and believes that they will miss the next four games. Laviolette also said that there was a positive case of COVID-19 among the four players, and the league did its required contact tracing to land them all on the COVID-Related Absence list.
Faceoff for Friday is set for 7 p.m. EST with pregame coverage on WGR beginning at 6 p.m. EST with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog.