Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov should not expect his teammates to let him slide for his positive cocaine test, NBC Sports Washington's Brian McNally said on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday.
"If you're Tom Wilson or Alex Ovechkin and you're going, you know man, we can't win a Cup without Evgeny Kuznetsov playing at close to a level that he played at in the playoffs in 2018, you know he can play that way," McNally said. "And instead, you get an erratic, up-and-down season. My whole point was just there are gonna be questions from his teammates.
That doesn't mean they're gonna pull him aside and be like, 'Hey, what are you doing, man?' or like, 'What's going on?' But there's no way that's just going to completely be allowed to slide," McNally told The Junks.
While Kuznetsov didn't test positive in a test conducted by the NHL, questions still remain about whether he was honest during the league's investigation.
"He basically did the I was there 10 minutes and rolled out, wasn't me," McNally said. "If you're going to lie to the NHL directly, I think, that's where (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman may have some leeway and that's why their written statement left open a little bit the possibility of some kind of punishment."
McNally said you can't rule out punishment, but the league has generally not punished players from recreational drug use instead opting for treatment for abuse.Of course, there are still many other unknowns that could determine Kuznetsov's availability down the line.
"We don't know if.... this is recreation use? Is this an actual substance abuse issue, which it's possible it could be," McNally said. "And, again, that's where the treatment part comes in."