BREAKING NEWS : Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar speaks on Nichushkin’s decision

Valeri Nichushkin, a Colorado Avalanche forward, joined the NHLPA and NHL’s Player Assistance Program on Monday.

Nichushkin issued a statement through the team, claiming he wants to resolve his difficulties “once and for all.” It’s brave of Nichushkin to seek treatment, and maybe he’ll get the care he needs and return to the Avs later this season.

Following Colorado’s 4-3 loss to Montreal on Monday night, head coach Jared Bednar addressed the matter and wished Nichushkin the best.

“It takes a lot of courage to accomplish it. He’s going through a tough moment right now, and we wish him all the best. We’re going to miss him, without a doubt, but we’re there for him, and hopefully he goes and gets taken care of and can get back to us soon,” Bednar said.

Nichushkin is the second Avalanche player to enter the program this season, following defenseman Samuel Girard, who had a successful spell and has since returned to the team. Bednar was asked about the atmosphere around the Avs and whether guys felt comfortable asking for help.

Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin enters NHL/NHLPA player assistance  program

“I would like to believe that they should feel supported by our organization. We strive to treat it like a large family. “You would support your family if they had to go through something like that, and as a team, we are the same way,” Bednar added. “I’d prefer that it wasn’t an issue for us a couple of times, but it is what it is and we want him to be feeling good about himself and where he’s at.”

Nichushkin will be away from Avs indefinitely | FOX31 Denver

When asked how the Avalanche plan to replace Nichushkin on the ice, Bednar got right to it.

“You don’t,” the head coach replied.

Nichushkin is having a breakout year for Colorado, scoring 42 points on 22 goals and 20 assists. He ranks fourth on the club in points, after just Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen. With 22 goals, he is equal with Rantanen and only one behind MacKinnon.

For the time being, the Avalanche will have to do without Nichushkin, but maybe he’ll return at some point – whenever that may be. He’s certainly got the support of Bednar and the organization heading forward.

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