Valery Nichushkin suspended for 6 months, re-entered NHL Player Assistance Program

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Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) answers questions after training camp at the Family Sports Center in Centennial on Sept. 21, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Valeri Nichushkin is off for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHLPA and the NHL announced Monday that the Colorado Avalanche forward has been placed in Phase 3 of the Player Assistance Program. Under the terms of the joint program, Nichushkin will be suspended without pay for at least six months and will then be eligible to apply for reinstatement.

The news came about an hour before the Avs were to play the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series on Monday night at Ball Arena. Dallas leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Nichushkin spent time in the Player Assistance Program earlier this season. He also missed the final five games of Colorado's 2023 playoff series against the Seattle Kraken after the club released him from the team due to “personal reasons”. A Seattle police report stated that an intoxicated woman was found in Nichushkin's hotel room the morning before Game 3 of that series in Seattle.

Despite missing nearly two months, it was the best offensive season of Nichushkin's career. He finished with the highest goals (28) and points (53) of his career despite playing only 54 games.

Nichushkin has also been the league's leading scorer to begin the playoffs. He is tied for the league lead with nine goals in eight games, having scored at least once in each of Colorado's five games against Winnipeg and the first two of the Avs' series against Dallas.

Nichushkin participated in an optional practice on Sunday and a fully attended morning skate at Ball Arena on Monday. He has given only one brief interview in English since returning from the Player Assistance Program in March, and has not answered any questions about that experience.

See more at The Denver Post

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