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Avalanche’s Valeri Nichushkin Suspended At Least Six Months

Avalanche's Valeri Nichushkin Suspended At Least Six Months

Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar apparently confirmed that forward Valeri Nichushkin has been suspended for at least six months.

According to him, the suspension was not an excuse for his team’s 5-1 loss Monday to the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

The Avalanche have lost three straight games since coming back to win the series opener, with the Stanley Cup contenders now facing elimination.

“We’re not going to use that as an excuse. We can’t. We won’t,” Bednar said. 

“Again, we treat it just like [Logan O’Connor] — injured, done for the year. You get news like that all the time. You continue to play with the players that you have, and we have the ability to play a heck of a lot better than we did today regardless of any news.”

Avalanche forward Casey Mittelstadt said that he and a few teammates found out about Nichushkin as they entered Ball Arena hours before they took the ice for pregame skate.

“We’re hoping Val’s OK and hoping for the best for him,” Mittelstadt said.

Earlier in the day, Nichushkin was on the ice for morning skate. After the game, the Avalanche had already removed his nameplate from his stall in the team’s dressing room.

Nichushkin will be suspended for at least six calendar months, which means the earliest he could return would be mid-November.

His absence meant the Avalanche were without their leading playoff goal scorer after Nichushkin recorded nine goals and 10 points in eight games.

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