Forward for the Avalanche joins the NHL Player Assistance program

The NHL Player Assistance Program has been enrolled by forward Valeri Nichushkin of the Colorado Avalanche, the league announced. 

The team's most recent game against the Toronto Maple Leafs saw the 28-year-old Russian sit out, and head coach Jared Bednar stated he was "under the weather.

With 42 points in 40 games, Nichushkin has had a fantastic season. 52 in 62 games during the Avs' Stanley Cup-winning season (2021–2022) is his career high. 

Although Nichushkin's admission to the program is officially new, there were rumors that he may have been in an alcohol treatment program following an incident that occurred in Seattle during the previous season's playoffs.

A severely inebriated woman was discovered in Nichushkin's room, prompting Seattle Police to be called to the team's hotel for assistance. The team physician and other nearby medical specialists treated her, but the incident resulted in no charges being filed. 

After Nichushkin left the team, Bednar claimed to have kept in touch with him, but he never came back. The Avalanche's playoff run was ended by the Seattle Kraken in the first round. 

General manager Chris MacFarland stated of Nichushkin at a press conference on May 9 that "he was a very important part of our team in the past and we hope, that's our hope, he's going to be a very important part of our team in the future." 

In response to Denver Post Corey Masisak's inquiry regarding the Avs' starting six forward following the Seattle incident, Bednar stated that there was no doubt about Nichushkin going into this season.

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