The big thing on everyone’s mind right now is the absence of Valeri Nichuskin. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any update on the situation.
Valeri Nichushkin has left the Colorado Avalanche for personal reasons, the team has confirmed.
Nichushkin, who was missing from morning skate due to “maintenance,” is no longer with the team. Colorado Hockey Now confirmed with a team spokesperson that he has gone to the airport and is no longer in Seattle. His status for game four is unknown at this point.
Colorado played and won game three without Nichushkin, but when asked if his absence would be a long-term issue, Jared Bednar responded by saying, “I have no idea.”
“He’s not with the team for personal reasons,” Bednar said when asked if he was missing from the team for disciplinary reasons.
It was surprising news coming just hours after the Avalanche’s 6-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Nothing has been made public about his situation.
“I have no idea if it’s a long-term situation,” head coach Jared Bednar said.
The Avalanche are already playing without key player Gabriel Landeskog and losing Nichushkin is a big blow to the team.
Nichushkin is in the first year of his eight-year contract with the Avalanche following their Stanley Cup championship last year. His contract carries an AAV of $6.125 million. He has played two games for the Avalanche in the first-round playoff series versus the Seattle Kraken, scoring one goal.
Nichushkin was present in each of the Avs’ first two playoff games against the Kraken and was expected to dress on Saturday. In Thursday’s 3-2 victory at Ball Arena, Nichushkin scored the game-tying goal in the second period, making it 2-2. Without their rugged winger in the top six, the Avs’ lines were once again jumbled, with both Matt Nieto and Denis Malgin getting time with center J.T. Compher.
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