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Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov suspended 3 games by NHL

Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been suspended without pay for three regular-season games by the NHL for “inappropriate conduct,” less than a month after he was banned from playing for Russia for four years because of a positive test for cocaine.

The NHL announced its punishment Saturday, saying it followed a meeting in New York on Monday with Commissioner Gary Bettman, Kuznetsov and union representatives. The league did not elaborate on its decision. Kuznetsov will not appeal.

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“I have decided to accept the NHL’s suspension today. I am once again sorry that I have disappointed my family, my teammates, and the Capitals organization and fans,” he said in a statement issued by the Capitals.

“I promise to do everything in my power to win you back with my actions both on and off the ice. I also understand that I am fortunate to have an opportunity to make things right. Thanks to the Capitals, NHL, and NHLPA, I have taken many steps in the right direction and I’m confident that I will continue on that path.”

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Kuznetsov, a key part of Washington’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2018, tested positive while playing for Russia at the world championship in May. He faced allegations of drug use at the world championship after a video posted on social media showed him near a table with lines of white powder and American dollar bills.

When that four-year ban was announced by the International Ice Hockey Federation, the NHL said Kuznetsov would undergo regular drug testing and he voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. Teammates expressed support for Kuznetsov as the Capitals opened camp this week.

“He realizes he makes mistake,” captain and fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin said. “Sometimes the best thing is just support him and be at his side.”

Washington visits defending champion St. Louis in the season opener Oct. 2.

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Youth basketball: Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter will host a freee clinic for ages 8-18 on Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the St. Rita Church Rec Center at 2101 St. Lo Drive.

Major League Lacrosse: Lyle Thompson had a hat trick as the Chesapeake Bayhawks edged the Denver Outlaws, 11-10.

College field hockey: Stevenson senior goalie Kelsey Eure (South River) made a career-high 14 saves, but a late second-quarter goal sank the Mustangs as they fell 1-0 at Shenandoah.

Women’s college volleyball: Abby Hamilton had her third-straight match with 17 or more kills, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors, as Loyola Maryland beat UMBC, 25-20-26-28, 25-17, 25-22, to win the Charm City Challenge.

Horse racing: James C. Wolf’s Gold Man, a 10-year-old gelding making his 90th start in eight racing seasons, came from off the pace to register his 23rd career victory in Saturday’s 10th race at Laurel Park. Favored at 3-2 in a field scratched down to five, Gold Man ($5) ran 1 mile in 1:37.42 over a fast main track to capture the $21,000 claiming event for 3-year-olds and up. Entered for a $12,500 tag by trainer Tim Kreiser, Gold Man was not claimed.

<< Pocket 3s Racing’s multiple stakes-placed Threes Over Deuces got an ideal pace setup and perfectly timed ride from jockey Alex Cintron to end a string of four consecutive runner-up finishes with a decisive 2 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s featured fifth race at Laurel Park.

— From Sun staff and wire reports

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