Capitals' Kuznetsov Slams NHLPA for Not Taking His Case

Published September 22, 2023 at 9:42 PM

It's rare for NHL players to openly criticize their players union, the NHLPA, and so anytime any player does so, like Evgeny Kuznetsov is, it's newsworthy. Recently on a Russian podcast, Kuznetsov discussed an incident in 2019 where cocaine was found in his system at the IIHF World Championships. Kuznetsov said the league initially wanted to suspend him 20 games, and in a meeting with commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHLPA did nothing to defend him.

"We went in, sat down. Next to me sat these three c--ksuckers from the trade union. They told me they were gonna stick up for me. If Bettman says one word to us, we're gonna get involved and s--t. And then Bettman starts getting hot and heavy. He's going on and on and on and on and on. I'm sitting there, and I can't tell if he's serious or not. I apologized, said I came to you as a human being, alone, without an agent. Bettman said he respected that, thanked me. Sitting next to him was [Deputy Commissioner] Bill Daly. He said: 'I think you should be suspended for 20 games.' And I just started laughing. And those three people from the union don't say a word. I look at them, I don't understand, they should have stood up for me."

Kuznetsov recalled that he sat in the meeting for an hour while Bettman and Bill Daly reprimanded him, while the NHLPA union representatives stayed quiet.

"Ideally, people from the union should have stood up, started some kind of dialogue, somehow take my side. But as it turned out, I listened for an hour to how s---ty I was. It was over, I got in a cab and called my agent. Told him about the 20-game suspension, he laughed too. But when I imagined that I would get such a punishment, I got kind of depressed. Then the agent calls and says: 'Can we do three games of disqualification?' Two games is not enough, it's better to have three'. I said that it wasn't up to me. In the end we agreed to give only three games instead of 20 games of suspension."

For the incident, Kuznetsov was penalized with a four-year ban from international play in the IIHF. Even though now the ban is over, Russia is suspended from international play entirely at the moment.

September 22   |   72 answers
Capitals' Kuznetsov Slams NHLPA for Not Taking His Case

Was a three game suspension from the NHL a fair punishment for Kuznetsov

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