Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin suspended six months


The Colorado Avalanche received a major blow to their aspirations of winning the 2024 Stanley Cup on Tuesday. According to Pat Graham of the Associated Press on Monday, Avalanche right winger Valeri Nichushkin of Chelyabinsk, Russia was suspended six months for violating the terms of the National Hockey League Player Assistance Program. The news at the time was extremely significant because it came only an hour before game four in a dominant 5-1 Dallas Stars win over the Colorado Avalanche. With the win in the Western Conference semifinals at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, the Stars now have a three games to one series lead in the best out of seven series.

Impact that Nichushkin brought to the Avalanche in 2023-24

Nichushkin is currently tied with Edmonton Oilers right winger Zach Hyman of Toronto, Ontario for the National Hockey League playoff lead in goals with nine. In eight playoff games, Nichushkin has nine goals and one assist for 10 points. He is a +1 with two penalty minutes, four power-play goals, two game-winning goals, 24 shots on goal, a NHL playoff high 37.5% shooting percentage, nine blocked shots, 21 hits, and two takeaways.

Nichushkin’s two game-winning goals came against the Winnipeg Jets. In game three during a 6-2 Avalanche win over the Jets on April 26, Nichushkin scored on the power-play from Mikko Rantanen of Nousiainen, Finland and Nathan MacKinnon of Halifax, Nova Scotia which put Colorado up 3-2 at the time. In game four during a Colorado hat trick (a 5-1 Avalanche win over the Jets) on April 28, Nichushkin scored the game-winning goal from Cale Makar of Calgary, Alberta and MacKinnon on the power-play, which put the Avalanche up 2-1 at the time.

Nichushkin has been known throughout the playoffs for his goal scoring, however he does have one assist. It came in game one against the Stars, in a 4-3 Colorado win. Nichushkin set up Makar on the power-play.



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