Avalanche’s Valeri Nichushkin Enters Stage 3 Player Assistance Program, Faces 6-Month Suspension

Valeri Nichushkin of the Avalanche has been suspended without pay for at least six months after being placed in Stage 3 of the NHLPA and NHL Player Assistance Program, amidst a postseason where he had a goal-scoring streak and after missing games due to personal reasons.

Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin found himself in a tough spot recently. The NHLPA and NHL announced Monday that he’s been placed in Stage 3 of the Player Assistance Program. This means he’s suspended without pay for at least six months. Once the suspension is up, he can apply for reinstatement.

Nichushkin, 29, had already been away from the team for a good chunk of the regular season. From mid-January to early March, he was MIA. Then, he missed the last five games of the Avalanche’s opening-round playoff series against the Kraken. The reason? Personal issues.

The timing of his latest suspension raised a few eyebrows. It was announced just hours before Colorado’s Game 4 against the Stars. At that point, Dallas was leading the series 2-1. Interestingly, Nichushkin had participated in the team’s morning skate that day.

But here’s the kicker: no one’s saying why Nichushkin was placed in the program. That’s been the policy since the program kicked off in 1996. Pierre LeBrun gave us a breakdown of the program’s stages, but details on individual cases? Nada.

Before this hiccup, Nichushkin was on fire this postseason. He scored a goal in each of the Avalanche’s first seven games. That tied him for the longest streak to start a postseason in NHL history. Then, in Game 3 against his former team, the Stars, he went scoreless. By the way, the Stars picked him 10th in the 2013 NHL Draft. He’s been with the Avalanche since 2019.

And get this – Nichushkin had a banner year in the regular season. He racked up a career-high 53 points. Quite the journey for Nichushkin, huh?

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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