Knights’ Zykov suspended 20 games for PEDs

NHL

Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov has been suspended for 20 games without pay for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

“I’ve been informed that I am being suspended,” Zykov said in a statement through the NHLPA. “While I haven’t been able to discover how I tested positive, I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and will accept this penalty. I want to apologize to my family, my teammates, and the Golden Knights organization and fans. I will work hard during my suspension to ensure that I put myself in the best possible position to contribute to my team when my suspension is over.”

Zykov, 24, has appeared in seven games for Vegas this season, tallying two assists and averaging 11 minutes, 44 seconds of ice time. He appeared in 28 games last season with Vegas, the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers. Overall, the St. Petersburg, Russia, native has appeared in 47 NHL games since debuting with the Hurricanes in the 2016-17 season.

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.

Zykov is just the sixth NHL player suspended for PEDs since the current CBA was ratified in 2013.

“We monitor the nutrition, supplement intake, and overall diet of our athletes on a continual basis throughout our entire season,” the Golden Knights said in a statement. “Valentin knowingly used a banned substance without the consent, recommendation or knowledge of our team. We support the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and respect the decision here.”

This is the second performance enhancing substance suspension for the Golden Knights in the past two seasons. Defenseman Nate Schmidt was banned 20 games last September for violating the policy. Both Schmidt and the team strongly disagreed with the suspension, and sources told ESPN that it was suspected that the positive test was a result of consuming tainted meat.

Schmidt said last month that he was working with the NHLPA and NHL to get the testing standards changed.

“At the end of the day, I know I didn’t do it,” Schmidt said. “That’s what gets me over the hump: that I can look in the mirror and know I didn’t do it.”

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