Nastya Shubskaya, wife of Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, fired back at the NHL on Thursday after the league fined the team $100,000 for violation of COVID-19 protocols Wednesday. The Caps released a statement expressing disappointment in their players' "choice to interact in their hotel room and outside of team approved areas."
Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov were added to the COVID-19 protocols-related absence list Wednesday.
That led Shubskaya to criticize the league for its guidelines Thursday.
She wrote on Instagram:
"Of course, only Russian players of Washington Capitals were together in the same hotel room. Of course, all of the other NHL players, when playing away, separating themselves from their teammates. Of course, you can't catch the virus when you and your teammates sit together on the bench, hug each other when they score a goal, or when they are all together in the lounge or locker room. Players can't get infected when they are at the restaurants, supermarkets, malls, etc. Virus only works in a hotel room."
The fine was the first punishment the NHL handed down for COVID-19 protocol violations, though multiple games have already been postponed and rescheduled because of outbreaks among other franchises.
Caps head coach Peter Laviolette said the four players were likely to miss at least four games.
"We knew the rules," Laviolette said. "We aren't sitting here saying we were unaware."
Shubskaya said Ovechkin and Orlov both have COVID-19 antibodies. Still, that does not preclude them from following the league's protocols.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Washington captain took responsibility for his actions.
"I regret my choice to spend time together with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room areas," Ovechkin said. "I will learn from this experience."