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IIHF Suspends Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov for 4 Years From International Play for Cocaine Use

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - MAY 26: Yevgeni Kuznetsov #92 of Russia skates against Czech Republic during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia third place play-off game between Russia and Czech Republic at Ondrej Nepela Arena on May 26, 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

A truly damning viral video finally caught up with Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Washington Capitals center, fresh off a bronze medal finish with Team Russia at the IIHF world hockey championships, was revealed Friday to have tested positive for cocaine during the course of the tournament. He's now been banned for four years from international competition.

And many hockey fans are surely wondering why today's decision didn't get handed out far, far sooner.

In the spring, an undated video landed on social media depicting Kuznetsov and another person near a series of lines of white powder. The writing was clearly on the wall, and now, the Caps veteran has to face the music.

"Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take," Kuznetsov said in an official statement delivered via the Capitals. "I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward."

While the NHL isn't required to issue any discipline given that the drug violation came under the IIHF's purview. As it stands, a four-year absence from international play would require the 27-year-old to miss the 2022 Winter Olympics, as well as the next three world championship tournaments.