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NHL Notebook: Avalanche’s Valeri Nichushkin suspended six months, placed in player assistance program

Colorado Avalanche Valeri Nichushkin
Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It’s time for another NHL Notebook.
A player tied for the lead in playoff goals has been suspended (not Carson Soucy), some awards for players around the league will be announced on Tuesday, and there is some IIHF World Championship news!
Let’s dig in.

Valeri Nichushkin suspended “at least” for six months…

On Monday evening, it was reported that Valeri Nichushkin was placed in stage three of the NHL’s player assistance program and subsequently suspended without pay for six months. According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, citing sources, Nichushkin had recently failed a drug test.
This isn’t the first time he’s been involved in the Player Assistance program, as he was a part of the program for nearly two months starting in January of this season.
It’s a big loss for the Colorado Avalanche, as Nichushkin is tied with Edmonton Oiler Zach Hyman with nine goals this postseason. The Avalanche are in tough against the Western Conference champions, the Dallas Stars.
Nothing but the best for Nichushkin, as this goes above and beyond hockey.

Sam Bennett and the NHL officials…

If you have been watching the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks series, you know that officiating hasn’t been great. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s been downright pathetic.
On Sunday, the Boston Bruins tried to avoid going down 3-1 in the series to the Florida Panthers and even had a 2-1 lead early in the third period. However, on a Florida power play, Sam Bennett cross-checked Charlie Coyle into Jeremy Swayman, and the goal stood, giving the Panthers a second power play, eventually leading to a Florida goal after Boston killed it.
Not just that, but Bennett sucker punched Brad Marchand in the face, which was deemed a good and clean hockey play.
Add on the fact it was actually Nikita Zadorov who cross-checked McDavid first and not Carson Soucy, and it was a rough day at the office for the league.

NHL Awards Season…

The National Hockey League will announce its award winners starting on May 14th. The first award is the Mark Messier Leadership.
On May 15th, the Bill Masterton Trophy winner will be announced, with Frederik Andersen, Connor Ingram, and Oliver Kylington being announced for that award. My money is on Kylington winning it, but all three players are deserving.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy winner will be announced on May 18, with Aleksander Barkov, Auston Matthews, and Jordan Staal up for the award. My guess is that it’ll probably be Matthews, but it should be Barkov in my opinion.
On May 22, the Jack Adams Award, the trophy given to the best coach, will be announced. The candidates are Winnipeg’s Rick Bowness, Nashville’s Andrew Brunette, and Vancouver’s Rick Tocchet. Hopefully, this is the only award a person from the Canucks organization will win.
The King Clancy Memorial Trophy will be awarded on May 28, with the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy coming two days later. Auston Matthews, Elias Pettersson, and Jaccob Slavin are the finalists for the most useless trophy of all time.
A bunch of awards will be awarded on June 27, as the Hart Memorial Trophy (Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid), James Norris Memorial Trophy (Quinn Hughes, Roman Josi, Cale Makar), Ted Linsay Award (Kucherov, MacKinnon, Matthews), Vezina Trophy (Sergei Bobrovsky, Thatcher Demko, Connor Hellebuyck), and Calder Memorial Trophy (let’s be real, Connor Bedard) will be announced.
Speaking of June 27…

Fontainebleau Las Vegas will host the 2024 NHL Awards…

While some awards will be announced during the playoffs, the important awards will be announced in late June.  On Monday, it was announced that the Fontainebleau Las Vegas will host the awards on June 27.
This isn’t the only important off-season event that will take place in Vegas. The day after the Award show, the 2024 NHL Draft’s first round will start at the Sphere, the new arena that costs upwards of $2 billion.
A few events have been hosted at the event, including 40 U2 shows, because they apparently still make music (including Vancouver’s terrible “Where The Streets Have No Name intro song). The NHL draft will be the first sporting event held at the Sphere, beating out UFC 306, which is set to take place in mid-September.

IIHF World Championship update…

We’re now four days into the IIHF World Championship. Canada has played two games, winning both in regulation, but is third in Group A action (with both teams ahead of them playing three games).
In Group B action, Team Sweden leads the way with three regulation wins, with Slovakia in second, Latvia in third, and the United States in fourth.
Of course, the Oilers are still in the playoffs, so there are no current Oilers in the tournament, but it’s an exciting time for hockey fans who care about Team Canada.

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