What happened to Kuznetsov? Why is Kuznetsov not playing?

Evgeny Evgenyevich Kuznetsov is a Russian professional ice hockey forward for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) while under contract with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League.

Kuznetsov won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018, topping the playoffs in point totals with 32, the highest by any player in a single postseason since Evgeni Malkin in 2009.

Kuznetsov is noted for his bird celebration, which he did throughout the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs and his entire career, giving him the nickname “the Birdman.”

The Washington Capitals placed forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on waivers just hours after the NHL/NHLA Player Assistance Program cleared him to return to practice.

Kuznetsov cleared waivers on Sunday and will join the Hershey Bears, the team’s AHL club, for practice on Tuesday.

Kuznetsov is in fresh and uncharted area. Although it is evident that he and the Capitals are going in different directions, the exact way they will part remains unknown. These are the most likely scenarios.

What happened to Kuznetsov?

Evgeny Evgenyevich Kuznetsov
Kuznetsov is set to join AHL Hershey after clearing waivers.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, a longtime Washington Capitals center, cleared waivers Sunday after not being claimed by any of the NHL’s other 31 clubs and was assigned to Hershey of the American Hockey League.

This is Kuznetsov’s second time in the player assistance program; he voluntarily entered after testing positive for cocaine while playing for Russia the 2019 IIHF World Championship and was suspended from international competition for four years.

Kuznetsov is the latest player to benefit from the NHL/NHLPA player aid program.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Washington Capitals center, has entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, and the team is now preparing for the season’s stretch run without him.

What happened to Kuznetsov
What happened to Kuznetsov

Kuznetsov will be absent from the squad indefinitely as he receives care. Under the program’s provisions, he can return to the squad for practice and then games if administrators approve.

“There’s not a lot of background on what we know,” said head coach Spencer Carbery following the Capitals’ morning skate Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia. Any background information other than the fact that he’s in the program is not disclosed.

Kuznetsov is the fourth player this season announced to be in the joint NHL/NHLPA program after Columbus’ Patrik Laine and Colorado’s Samuel Girard and Valeri Nichushkin.

One fan wrote on X, Kuzy is a true gamer. Plays with a ton of heart and when he’s 100% he’s unstoppable.

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