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Russia bans Kuznetsov for 4 yrs

The Associated PressGENEVA (AP) — Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov tested positive for cocaine at the world championship and has been banned from the Russia team for four years.

Kuznetsov failed a doping test after a sample was taken on May 26, the day Russia won the bronze medal game against the Czech Republic in Slovakia, the International Ice Hockey Federation said on Friday. The previous day, Russia lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Finland.

The ban does not stop Kuznetsov playing in the NHL, which classifies cocaine as a drug of abuse rather than a performance-enhancing doping product.

“I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down,” Kuznetsov said in a statement published by the NHL addressing Capitals owners and fans.

“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,” said the 27-year-old, who has six years left on a $62.4 million contract signed in 2017.

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