The league is punishing $ 100,000 in fines for safety breaches because the COVID-19 rattle schedule applies

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© Reuters. NHL: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins

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(Reuters) – The National Hockey League (NHL) fined the Washington Capitals $ 100,000 on Wednesday for violating COVID-19 protocols. This was the first fine related to the novel coronavirus that it has imposed.

The NHL said the fine was in response to "player violations" of protocols, including "social interactions between team members who were in close contact and who did not wear face coverings."

Captain Alex Ovechkin, one of four Capitals players placed on the NHL's COVID Protocol Related Absence List after the incident, apologized and said he would learn from the experience.

"I regret my decision to spend time with my teammates in our hotel room and outside the locker rooms," he said in a statement.

The other players added to the list were Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Ilya Samsonov. It is unclear when they will be allowed to return to the ice.

The capitals said in a statement that they had worked hard to create a "safe environment" for the team to compete in this season and were disappointed that the players interacted outside the approved areas.

"We accept the NHL's decision and will be reviewing the existing COVID-19 protocols again to ensure players are fully compliant in the future," they added.

While this is not the maximum fine allowed under NHL protocol, the high number could still serve as a warning to teams playing past the limits of last year's quarantine bubble, as the league has already had one since the start of the season for safety reasons Series of games has been postponed a week ago.

After the game between Carolina and Nashville was postponed on Tuesday, the league announced on Wednesday that the Hurricanes' schedule had been suspended until at least January 23 and five players were on the absentee list.

"As a reasonable precaution, the team's training facilities have been closed with immediate effect and will remain closed to players until further notice," said an NHL statement.

"The Hurricanes organization has and will continue to follow all recommended guidelines to protect the health and safety of its players, employees and the community at large."

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