DENVER — Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin is clear to resume playing next season.
During Colorado’s first-round playoff series against the Kraken, an unknown woman was found in Nichushkin’s Seattle hotel room. She was so intoxicated that a team doctor had to call for an ambulance to take her to a hospital, according to a Seattle Police Department report.
Recent bodycam footage has shed more light on the situation, and the belief is authorities ensured the well being of the woman involved while deciding not to pursue action against Nichushkin.
Nichushkin, though, did not play for the remainder of the playoffs due to what the Avalanche deemed as “personal reasons” and he has not publicly commented since.
Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly was recently asked about the Nichushkin situation and he responded as follows: “There’s no ongoing investigation into the Nichushkin incident. We know exactly what happened. It was handled appropriately, both at the club level and, I think, at the league level, and he’s eligible to play in the league.”
So, as far as the NHL is concerned, Nichushkin is in the clear.
But will he indeed be back?
The hosts of Locked on Avalanche discuss how the information regarding the incident is hazy, and we may never know the full details. But, he's not facing criminal charges and the NHL has cleared him to play.
It's now down to the player and the team as to whether he'll be back.
It appears as though the Avs would indeed have him back despite his absence at a crucial time.
“He was a very important part of our team in the past,” general manager Chris MacFarland said after following Colorado's series loss to Seattle, “and that’s our hope, that he’s going to be a very important part of our team in the future, for sure.”
Nichushkin has seven years remaining on an eight-year contract that carries an average annual value of $6.125 million. He scored 17 goals and 47 points in 53 games last season, missing time due to an ankle injury.