Valeri Nichushkin speaks for first time since leaving Avs in playoffs
Sep 21, 2023, 1:33 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2023, 10:36 am
CENTENNIAL—Valeri Nichushkin declined to give details on Thursday when he spoke publicly for the first time since leaving the Colorado Avalanche in the middle of the first round of last spring’s playoffs.
One of the better players for the Avs during their Stanley Cup run the season before, Nichushkin, was named in a Seattle police report while the team was facing the Kraken. He left the team hotel hours before Game 3, surrounded by questions. The police report led to more questions than answers, a 911 call didn’t give much info and neither did body camera footage. Bednar called the situation “personal” time and time again, despite authorities being involved and a Russian woman making some strong accusations about a “bad man” stealing her passport.
The matter was handled appropriately, according to the NHL, and Nichushkin won’t be disciplined. Still, when the team was trying to go back-to-back, one of their best players disappeared.
“Actually, we already talked about that. It was a family reason. I know you guys want to find something there, but it’s nothing really interesting,” Nichushkin said after the first day of Avs training camp. “It’s a new season now and we have to focus on that.”
The Avalanche signed Nichushkin to an eight-year $49 million deal before last season.
‘Let’s close it, I don’t want to talk about it,” Nichushkin responded when pressed about the woman.
Nichushkin and team play their first preseason game on Sunday, interestingly—this saga may have already been over and not lingered into the offseason had Colorado won Game 7 against Seattle.
“We both decided,” Nichushkin said on if he or the team made the call on leaving the group. “If we made the next round I probably would’ve played.”
Nichushkin thanked his teammates for the support and said he was ready to go for the season. Last year he came into the season off a gnarly foot injury and quickly picked up other issues.
“I wanted to make sure what he was going through was cleaned up. I wanted to make sure his head was in the right place and making sure he was in a good spot with his game,” head coach Jared Bednar said about his communication with the forward over the summer.