Capitals slapped with $100K fine for violating COVID protocols

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 09: A detailed view of the 2020 Stanley Cup logo at center ice in between periods of an Eastern Conference Round Robin game between the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 09, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals have been fined $100,000 by the NHL for violating the league's COVID-19 protocol. (Getty)

The Washington Capitals have been fined $100,000 by the NHL for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

In a statement released Wednesday, the NHL revealed the Capitals broke rules “which involved social interactions among team members who were in close contact and not wearing face coverings.”

Washington has played all four of its scheduled games thus far, and at the time of this filing, are still scheduled to play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.

Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov are among the Capitals’ players listed on the league’s list of unavailable players.

Ovechkin appeared to take responsibility for the team’s outbreak, in a statement released via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The team also released the following statement via Samantha Pell of The Washington Post:

The NHL agreed to a 56-game schedule for 2021 in absence of a bubble, which worked successfully last summer as the league didn’t record a single positive test while completing the 2019-20 playoffs. In part due to government restrictions, the league adjusted its divisional format, notably sending all Canadian clubs to play against each other, as teams will only face their divisional counterparts during the regular season.

To little surprise, it hasn’t worked well through the opening week. The defending Stanley Cup finalist Dallas Stars have yet to begin their season after a COVID-19 outbreak led to 17 positive tests, causing their first four games to be rescheduled. Dallas will begin its season on Jan. 22 against the Nashville Predators.

It’s not just the Stars, however. After five players tested positive for COVID-19, the Carolina Hurricanes postponed at least two games, while Tuesday’s game between the Hurricanes and Nashville Predators was previously moved.

Simply, the league will almost certainly continue to face COVID-19 cases if it doesn’t adhere to a bubble.

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