Evgeny Kuznetsov lands in COVID-19 protocol again, will miss next two Capitals games at least*

Evgeny Kuznetsov is off to one of the best starts of his career, tallying 30 points (9g, 21a) in the Capitals’ first 28 games. Now he’ll have to sit out for an unknown period of time due to COVID-19.

Wednesday afternoon, the Capitals PR announced that Kuzy had entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

#Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov is unavailable due to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.

— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 15, 2021

The news means Kuznetsov will miss the Capitals next two games — tonight against Chicago and Friday against Winnipeg (*if it’s not postponed) — at the least. Kuznetsov will be unable to travel into Canada like Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk due to either contracting or being exposed to the virus recently.

Kuznetsov, by his own admittance, contracted COVID-19 twice last season and missed both a large chunk of the regular season and part of the playoffs. This is the third time since the pandemic began that he’s entered protocol.

Kuznetsov blamed the disease for his poor performance last season. Kuznetsov had to use an inhaler three times a day after becoming infected.

“I just want to say, there was a moment when I woke up, and almost cried happy tears when I realized I can walk and breathe,” Kuznetsov said. “There were some moments. Difficult. Everything happens for the first time, you never know what to expect next. The way this disease goes – one day you are fine, the next day it’s bad. Only those who got sick with symptoms will understand what I am talking about. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.”

Kuzy is the fifth Capitals player to enter protocol this season – a list that includes Lars Eller, Nic Dowd, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Garnet Hathaway. The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell reports that three staffers from the team’s traveling party are in protocol as well.

Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB