Valeri Nichushkin Suspended Six Months, in Stage 3 of Player Assistance Program

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin
Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin has been suspended without pay for a minimum of six months after entering Stage 3 of the NHL's Player Assistance Program, the NHLPA announced on Monday.

Nichushkin will be able to apply for reinstatement to the league at the conclusion of the six-month period.

Nichushkin, 29, has led the Avs in goals during their postseason run, logging a playoff high nine goals across eight games. He'll miss the remainder of the playoffs and stands to be out for at least the start of next season, too.

Colorado is set to play Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Dallas Stars on Monday night. The announcement of Nichushkin's suspension came just a few hours before puck drop.

Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff reports that his sources say Nichushkin failed a drug test.

The Russian forward missed time earlier this season after entering the Player Assistance Program. Additionally, he missed the final five games of Colorado's playoff series against the Seattle Kraken last season after leaving the team for personal reasons. Police reported that a woman was found intoxicated in his hotel room in Seattle before Game 3 of that series.

Nichushkin signed an eight-year, $49 million extension with the Avalanche in July 2022.

Karl Rasmussen


Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.