It's been six weeks since Avalanche team employees found an intoxicated woman in the Russian's hotel room during the team's first-round series against the Seattle Kraken, causing him to miss the rest of the series that Colorado ultimately lost in seven games.
The incident occurred before Game 3 of the Kraken-Avalanche series, and after the team flew Nichushkin to an unspecified location, he has not been seen on the ice since.
There have been virtually no extra details shared since the nature of the encounter came to light, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed that the 28-year-old is not in hot water with the league.
“We know exactly what happened,” Daly said at a recent press conference, per Baugh. “It was handled appropriately, both at the club level and at the league level, and he's eligible to play in the league.”
Despite this, Avalanche and NHL fans are surely wondering exactly what happened to cause one of the team's best players to leave in the middle of a crucial playoff series.
“Expectations from both sides are that Nichushkin will be back for training camp,” wrote Baugh on Friday. “He's set to start the second year of an eight-year, $49 million contract, and the team expects him to be available to speak with media members when he returns for camp.”
The Avalanche have also confirmed that the situation wasn't a disciplinary matter, only adding more speculation to the entire situation. Neither president of hockey operations Joe Sakic nor GM Chris MacFarland shed any light at the team's end-of-season media availability.
“We can't comment on Val's situation at this time,” said MacFarland.
One thing seems clear: although the specifics still haven't been revealed, Valeri Nichushkin will have to face the music when Colorado's training camp gets underway later this year.