1:30pm: Vegas GM George McPhee held a press conference to address the news, and explained how the team found out. McPhee told reporters including Jesse Granger of The Athletic that Zykov admitted to taking the supplement that caused the positive test for four years.
12:35pm: Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov has been suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. This is the second consecutive year the Golden Knights have lost a player for a suspension like this, after Nate Schmidt was handed a 20-game ban last season. The Golden Knights released a statement:
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 the 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.
Zykov also released a statement through the NHLPA:
I have been informed that I am being suspended for 20 games under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. 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.
The 24-year old forward has played seven games with the Golden Knights this season, registering two points in limited ice time. Originally a second-round selection of the Los Angeles Kings, he has just 47 games under his belt at the NHL level and played for three different organizations during the 2018-19 season.
On the second season of a two-year contract that carries a $675K cap hit and scheduled to become a restricted free agent next summer, this suspension will not help Zykov’s quest to become a full-time NHL player.
He is eligible to return for the Golden Knights game on November 29th against the Arizona Coyotes.