Valentin Zykov suspended 20 games for violating league’s PED policy

Golden Knights say they “respect the decision.”

Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov has been suspended for 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, the league announced Thursday. He will not receive pay during this time.

The Golden Knights released a statement on the matter, all but agreeing with the suspension:

“We were notified by the NHL and NHLPA that Valentin has violated the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. We monitor the nutrition, supplement intake, and overall diet of our athletes on a continual basis throughout our entire season. 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 a drastic difference from Vegas’ statement when defenseman Nate Schmidt received a 20-game suspension last season. The team “strongly dispute[d] the suspension” at the time, claiming that it did not think Schmidt knowingly violated any terms.

“I’ve been informed that I am being suspended for 20 games under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program,” Zykov said in a statement from 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 has two points so far in the 2019-20 season, both from assists. It is his first season starting with the Golden Knights. Vegas claimed the offensive player off waivers in December 2018 from the Edmonton Oilers, who he was with for just under a month. Prior to that, Zykov was with the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

The forward is eligible to return November 29 against the Arizona Coyotes. It remains to be seen, however, if he will.