Colorado Avalanche Star Valeri Nichushkin Has Been Suspended for Six Months

Valeri Nichushkin has entered a treatment program that will require a six-month suspension.


May 14 2024, Published 11:33 a.m. ET

Valeri Nichushkin during a playoff game against the Dallas Stars
Source: Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are facing elimination in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Dallas Stars. Although Avalanche coach Jared Bednar says there are no excuses, the Avalanche are in this position in part because forward Valeri Nichushkin hasn't been playing.

Article continues below advertisement

Following Valeri's absence from recent games, many are now wondering why he's out. Here's what we know about why Valeri hasn't been playing and when he might return to the Avalanche.

Valeri Nichushkin of the Colorado Avalanche arrives at Rogers Place ahead of the game against the Edmonton Oilers on March 16, 2024
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

Why is Valeri Nichuskin out?

Valeri has been suspended for at least six months, which means that the earliest he could return to the team is mid-November. The news that Valeri was being placed in Stage 3 of the NHL/NHL Players' Association player assistance program was announced just an hour before Game 4 started. No additional information was given to explain why he was placed in the program.

According to reporting from ESPN, the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program has four stages. The first stage is the first in-patient treatment, and it has no associated penalty. Stage 2, following a violation of the Stage 1 treatment plan, a player can be suspended without pay during the active phase of treatment and then become eligible for reinstatement.

Article continues below advertisement

Stage 3, which follows a violation of the Stage 2 treatment plan, carries a suspension of at least six months without pay, after which a player can become eligible for reinstatement. Stage 4, which follows a violation in Stage 3, calls for a one-year suspension, and reinstatement isn't assured.

Because no details were given, we don't know what progression of events led to this suspension.

Article continues below advertisement

Avalanche players had mixed reactions to Val's suspension.

After it became clear that Val would be out for the remainder of the 2024 playoffs, several Avalanche players offered their reaction to the news.

"We're hoping Val's OK and hoping for the best for him," Casey Middlestadt, a forward with the team said. He also said that he and other members of the team found out about Val's suspension as they entered the arena for Game 4.

Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson took a slightly different tact in speaking with The Denver Post. "[Nichushkin] made his decisions. That's all I'm going to say on that. He made his decisions," Jack said after the game. Players like Casey and Jack almost definitely have more information about why exactly Val will no longer be able to play, but it seems that whatever the issue is has been ongoing for some time.

For Val to have faced this level of suspension, he would have already had to violate Stages 1 and 2 of the program. The Avalanche have a major hole to climb out of as a team if they want to advance to the next round of the playoffs. "We're not going to use that as an excuse. We can't. We won't," coach Jared Bednar said after the Game 4 loss. "Again, we treat it just like [Logan O'Connor] — injured, done for the year. You get news like that all the time."

More from Distractify

Latest Sports News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.