The joint announcement from the NHL and NHL Players’ Association that Nichushkin, the Colorado Avalanche forward and one of the top goal-scorers in these playoffs, was placed in Stage 3 of the NHL/NHLPA player assistance

program and suspended for a minimum of six months without pay for violating the terms of Stage 2, was bombshell news ahead of Game 4 of the Stars-Avalanche second-round series on Monday, which Dallas won 5-1 to take a 3-1 series lead.

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