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Nichushkin Discusses Seattle Incident In Russian Interview

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Val Nichushkin avalanche nhl

Just when I thought things were starting to calm down, a 50 minute interview with Valeri Nichushkin pops up.

In part two of three, Nichushkin speaks with Russian YouTuber Mikhail Cherkasov, who visited Denver right before the start of the NHL playoffs. That means that all of these interviews occurred before the Russian forward was placed in stage three of the NHL/NHL Player Assistance program and suspended for six months. I remember seeing Cherkasov come into the locker room with his GoPro and talk to the Avalanche forward, as well as Yakov Trenin, who sat right next to Nichushkin the locker room.

Part one didn’t discuss too much that was terribly interesting, at least from an Avalanche perspective, but part two dives into the incident in Seattle last year. I’ve attached the video of the interview, but it’s obviously in Russian.

Rather than take a guess at what was being said, I had someone who speaks Russian translate what was said about Seattle, and they gave me permission to use the translation. Here’s what Val had to say…

“It was the most difficult season, there were a lot of injuries in the team all season. I missed 2 months due to bursitis. I also had a shoulder injury, which constantly bothered me. I always had problems sleeping, but because of the pain in my shoulder, the situation with my sleep got worse. They did an MRI and they couldn’t decide whether to have surgery or not. In the end, they decided not to do it and gave me injections in my shoulder. These injections stopped helping and they decided to inject me with another drug. When we flew to Seattle, they decided that I would not play the match due to a shoulder injury, because I needed to not bother my shoulder for a while until the drug starts working and everyone on the team knew that I would not play until the end of the round. It put a lot of pressure on the psyche and was very annoying. I had friends in Seattle at that moment and I made the wrong decision, we hung out with them at night and in the morning I flew to Denver. This girl in my room has nothing to do with me. The club advised me not to give any comments, and I myself was not emotionally ready to explain all this. This was probably the wrong decision and it was necessary to tell the whole situation right away so that there weren’t a bunch of different rumors. If we had made it to the second round, I would have been ready to play.”

I don’t really think it’s any secret that Val battled through a lot of injuries that season. Everyone knew about the foot, but he made it pretty clear in the few times that he spoke that he was dealing with a lot of other things all year. This is the first I’ve heard of the shoulder injury, and the first I’ve heard that it would have impacted his availability against Seattle. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that I was not aware of it.

The earliest that Nichushkin can return to the Avalanche from his suspension is Nov. 13, but he would need to get clearance from the NHL to do so.

There will be more interviews coming in the future that might be of interest to the Avalanche, including more from Nichushkin, as well as talks with Alexandar Georgiev and Nikolai Kovalenko.

For a thread to follow along on everything Nichushkin said in the interview, you can start here. He speaks about a lot more than just the Seattle incident. Credit to @waggot_ on X for the thread.

The Avalanche do not have a comment on what was said by Nichushkin, per Corey Masisak of the Denver Post.

I’m at the airport ready to fly out to Disneyland for a few days, but if anything comes up, you can be sure you’ll find it here at CHN.

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Glendon Gulliver

Enjoy your trip with your family!

Karl Keen

Very interesting. Great work Evan!

Rick Bennett

I’d like to remind everyone, once again, what MacFarland said at the beginning of the season – that Val would have been eligible to play if the Avs had made it past Seattle. Which lines up with what Val is saying in this interview and more importantly means, once again, that the ‘Seattle was Stage 1’ theory is complete nonsense and doesn’t line up with a) what MacFarland said at the beginning of the season b) what Val said in this interview in April and c) what the Avs said in late January – “Val is entering the program.” When… Read more »

Jeremy

He’s still being purposely vague & evasive with the facts. He flew back to Denver after the incident in the hotel “not that morning”. All of the original reporting of the incident was somebody from the Avs staff was sent to his room because he was nowhere to be found when the team was getting ready to bus over to the arena in Seattle for game 3. Also I think he’s full of it regarding his status in that series. He played in game 2 in Denver & scored the game winning goal if memory serves correctly. Why would he… Read more »

Neil Bergin

You’re not wrong. I’ve been one of if not his biggest critic and this doesn’t excuse this season’s suspension. But the team really botched their handling of the situation and should have been more forthcoming than they were. Because as someone else said here, if they had been more truthful they might’ve been able to get out from under that contract.

EnzoSin

💯 exactly.

Dave North

“When was stage 2?” I have wondered about that too. I can only assume it was connected to stage 1, i.e. something happened during his first stint in the program, causing it to move from stage 1 to stage 2.

Mark Johnson

How can stage one be after Seattle when he is saying it was a shoulder injury that they already knew he was not going to play? Did he still go out and get hammered with the drunk woman? As someone who speaks in public for a living, I find it hard to believe this story, there is a lot of details/ / meat in the middle that does not seem to match.

Dan G

Agree. I’m buying very little of this explanation. If Seattle was Stage 1, then why didn’t the Avs release a statement to that effect? Why the secrecy that inevitably led to all sorts of speculation?

Why at the start of the 2023-24 training camp did Nichushkin say, “Just let it go” and give zero explanation to Seattle rather than the same explanation he gave in the Russian interview?

The Avs look really bad in all this. While this is not the same, I’m reminded of how the Avs and Sakic in particular handled the Steve Moore assault.

Dan G

I really appreciate the reply and info. Not sure why the Avs or Nichushkin would want to keep that secret entertaining camp. Much easier and better explanation than what he gave.

Mark Messier

Yep! How people mindlessly forget Jan Feb 2024

Andrew Jones

https://youtu.be/HlNE8Ky0Hlw?si=wFDNHa2uvIjonsOV&t=1175

Meghan Angley asked him at the end of season presser. CMac confirmed that the first incident was in Seattle and the second was when he left in the middle of the season.

mtheelsgal

Granted the Avs are somewhat hamstrung with options here, but I wonder if this is why CMac’s comments lean toward acceptance and welcoming towards a Val return. Maybe the organization knows they (may have) played a part in his addiction to <insert substance here>. I’ve always wondered how much he was pressured to get drugged up and play game 6 versus TBL.

Jeremy

This is such a ridiculous statement, & not the first time I’ve heard this theory. The organization is not at fault for whatever issues he has. He’s an adult, he’s responsible for his shitty decisions.

Richard Trujillo

The organization is not responsible for his behavior. However, they are responsible for the cover up following the Seattle incident. Their penalty for sweeping everything under the rug instead of dealing with it is what happened this past season and no ability to get out from the contract.

Ryan white

To a certain point you are correct but a team dr who just keeps drugging you up, you can get addicted to it.

Now obviously you never struggle with addiction which is good.

But anything can be addictive, video games phones certain drinks etc.

Whos not to say the dr drugged him up to the point that he made a mistake.

Addiction is real and alot of people don’t have help and the people that have help are lucky.

Mark Johnson

I actually think it could have some merit, there could be slander / libel concerns with regard to how it was handled. Not an attorney, yet concerning.

EnzoSin

It’s good to see more people making sense this thread compared to the previous Nichuskin article thread.

Brian

Without Val, I don’t see us winning a cup next year. It sucks what happened this last year, but I personally hope he comes back strong and makes it through the whole season…and playoffs (crossing my fingers)…

Neil Bergin

Would’ve served him and the team better if they hadn’t tried to be all mysterious about it. Poorly handled by management. Why not just say out for the rest of the series with a LBI? All the secrecy made it look like they had something to hide.

Last edited 5 days ago by Neil Bergin
Aaron Hinton

Because they did have something to hide, Neil. Both the organization and the derelict player. He definitely screwed them this off-season though, which is why I don’t see him back, ever.

Mark Johnson

He will be back. They cannot eat 25 % of the contract for the remaining 4 or 5 years, whatever that # is.

AxJx MacReady

What a Nichushkin buyout looks like (otherwise known as the reason Colorado won’t buy him out):

24-25: +$180,556 (Avs gain cap space)
25-26: -$519,444
26-27: -$3,019,444
27-28: -$3,019,444
28-29: -$5,019,444
29-30: -$5,019,444
30-31: -$1,694,444
31-32: -$1,694,444
32-33: -$1,694,444
33-34: -$1,694,444
34-35: -$1,694,444
35-36: -$1,694,444

Last edited 3 days ago by Andrew Jones
Mark Johnson

The secrecy, the timing (after playing the previous game in Denver and scoring), the abusive and drunk woman in the room. Lots going on for sure. If he was going to be available for the next round, why bring him to Denver, have him stay home and get treatment. The last thing you want is to be traveling, away from the doctors and routine of your hoem city.

Jeremy

Yup..none of it makes sense or holds water. To me what’s more concerning than even the substance issues. Is what appears to be a pretty glaring level of unaccountability.

Thomas Wilgus

Nichushkin is at best a lousy, selfish teammate. He can be a difference maker but as an Avs fan, I’ve moved on from him and hope he never skates for the team again.

Ray McKigney

about a month or so ago I would not disagree with you. But as time has gone on, I think the odds are better that Val will be skating with the Av’s well before Landy does, if Landy ever does again for that matter.

Jeremy

They’re going to have to bring him back once he’s reinstated. It’s not even up for debate. Especially if the reports are true & the Avs aren’t even going to TRY & trade him while he’s suspended. I think what ultimately (aside from him being able to abide by the terms & conditions of a potential reinstatement). Will decide whether or not he’s here long term is if the core of this team is willing to welcome him back & feels as if they can roll with him in the postseason. I personally don’t see it, but I think McFarland… Read more »

Bob Neal

It sure sounds like Nuke is trying to build a legal defense in case the Av’s try to get rid of him. While I think this set of circumstances has been handled poorly by all parties, I find much of what Nuke said to be hard to believe given the bodycam footage. I really don’t see this ending well for us fans and doubt Nuke ever plays for the Av’s again.

Matt Briggle

The legal defense theory doesn’t hold the water you might think it does, remember that this interview we’re talking about today was recorded between his return to the team after the assistance program mid season and the start of the playoffs.

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