AVALANCHE

Report: “Incident” at team hotel factoring into Nichushkin’s absence from Avs

Apr 25, 2023, 10:44 AM

Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin has missed the team’s last two playoff games.

The Avs are saying Nichushkin is away for personal reasons and won’t put a timeline on his return. It was widely reported he left Seattle before Game 3 against the Kraken, heading to the airport with team security.

What caused his departure is unclear, but NHL insider Frank Seravalli attempted to shed some light on the situation on Tuesday morning. Appearing on Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver, Seravalli was asked what he knows about what’s going on with Nichushkin.

“Yeah, I’ve been working on the story as well,” Seravalli said. “This is a tough one because you’re starting to blur the lines of personal and what part of it should be out there publicly. And I think that’s something that we’re all kind of sifting through. My sense is that there was an alcohol-related incident that occurred. And I don’t know what the next steps are, I don’t know the depth of it. But it’s clear that something happened at the team hotel on Friday night that necessitated the Colorado Avalanche to get involved.”

Avs head coach Jared Bednar told the team radio partner on Tuesday it would be “unbelievable” if Nichushkin could return in the series with Seattle. After a disappointing OT loss on Monday night, the Avs and Kraken have each won two games, with Game 5 slated for Wednesday night at Ball Arena.

Whatever is going on with Nichushkin, his health and personal well-being obviously come first. Clearly, something happened, and it sounds like it’s being addressed.

From a hockey standpoint, the Avs could use his prowess and goal-scoring ability on the ice. Outside of an impressive Game 3, they’ve netted just six combined goals in the other three contests against Seattle.

They’ve got three games to fix it, or their shot at back-to-back Stanley Cups could be dashed early.

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