Spencer Carbery comments on Evgeny Kuznetsov entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program


On Monday, the Washington Capitals announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov would be stepping back from the team to participate in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Following the team’s morning skate on Tuesday, Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery addressed Kuznetsov’s absence for the first time since the announcement. Carbery mentioned that the team wasn’t provided with extensive details beyond Kuznetsov’s involvement in the program. He stated, “The NHL and the NHLPA have informed us that he’s entered the Substance Abuse Program, and that’s essentially what we know.” Carbery emphasized that they haven’t been given much background information beyond Kuznetsov’s participation. Therefore, the organization, including staff and players, is focused on supporting him and his family as he receives the necessary assistance. In an email to RMNB, Capitals PR clarified that Carbery was referring to the program’s previous name, the Substance Abuse/Behavioral Health Program, rather than Kuznetsov’s specific treatment plan.

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Carbery reiterated his support for Kuznetsov and his family, echoing the sentiment shared by the entire team. He mentioned that they’ve discussed the situation internally, but there isn’t much more information to share aside from the fact that their teammate, brother, and member of their family is going through a challenging time. Established in 1996, the player assistance program aims to aid players and their families dealing with substance abuse, mental health issues, or other challenges. Kuznetsov had previously entered the program in 2019 after testing positive for cocaine at that year’s IIHF World Championship.

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