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Valeri Nichushkin Cleared To Return To Avalanche

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Like I mentioned earlier today, there were rumblings on Sunday of this potentially happening, but it’s official – Valeri Nichushkin has been cleared to return to practice with the Colorado Avalanche.

Here’s the press release from the NHL:

“The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today that Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin has been cleared to resume practicing with the team and has entered the follow-up care phase of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Nichushkin has not yet been cleared to return to game action.

Nichushkin’s care continues to be administered pursuant to the player assistance program.”

Nichushkin entered the program on Jan. 15, so it’s been a little over 40 days. I also wouldn’t expect him to return to play immediately, as it took Sam Girard 10 days to return to the lineup after re-joining the team.

Fredrik Olofsson was sent to the Eagles this morning to make room on the active roster.

Either way, it’s fantastic news for the Avalanche, and I hope Nichushkin has been able to get the help he needed. He’s a huge part of the team, and their record with and without him would indicate that a lot of their success down the stretch depends on him being there.

In 40 games this season, Nichushkin has 20 goals and 42 points. His 13 powerplay goals lead the team, and the man advantage hasn’t looked the same since he left the lineup. Those 13 goals still have him tied for fourth in the NHL.

I highly doubt we will speak to Nichushkin after practice, but we expect to see him take the ice with his teammates. Practice starts in about 20 minutes at the time of this posting. Stay tuned to CHN for more information as it comes in.

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