Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said he is sorry for his past behavior and said he will learn from this after the NHL suspended him for three games without pay following a positive cocaine test in May.
"I agreed to the suspension,” Kuznetsov said in his first time speaking with the media since the positive cocaine test. “I want to say thanks to this organization, to (the NHLPA), to the NHL for their support and to the fans. There’s a lot of people who are supporting me and I’m going to appreciate it, and as a hockey player, the only chance to say thanks to them, to prove on the ice. Growing as a person, I want to get better and I’m gonna learn from this, for sure.”
"That was a pretty hard summer for me," Kuznetsov said. "But you know me, I always smile and whatever happens in my life I always look forward."
When asked if he would speak to his teammates, Kuznetsov said that would "stay in the kitchen."
"You know me, I'm not a bad guy," he added.
“He and I have had a number of conversations,” Reirden said. “This is a really, I think, it’s a career-defining time in his life. So I think he’s probably a little bit relieved to just be able to move past it and realized that the league has made the decision that they want to make, and they have made, and now we can get totally moving forward.
The Capitals begin preseason Monday against the Blackhawks before opening the regular season in St. Louis against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues on Oct. 2. Washington will be without Kuznetsov that night and when they travel to play the Islanders and host the Hurricanes in their home opener.