A statement provided by the NHL explains the punishment is the result of team members socializing in close contact with each other while not wearing face coverings.
It's the first time the league has fined a franchise for violating health and safety protocols. The Capitals added Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Samsonov to the COVID-Related Absence List on Wednesday.
The NHL temporarily realigned its divisions and changed the structure of its schedule to better protect against the virus this season as it looks to play through the pandemic outside of a bubble environment. That's led to teams playing baseball-style schedules with clubs remaining in cities for multiple days to play a series of games.
As a first punished offense, the NHL's fine is noteworthy.
The NFL fined the Las Vegas Raiders $500,000, revoked a draft pick and hit coach Jon Gruden with a $150,000 penalty after multiple violations of the league's health and safety protocols. Initially Gruden was fined $100,000 and the team was forced to pay $250,000 for similar violations.
The NHL appears to be taking a similar approach with financial punishments clubs are certain to feel in a year where revenues are expected to decrease without spectators in attendance.