Knights' Valentin Zykov suspended 20 games for doping
24-year-old forward will enter league's substance abuse program
Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov was suspended Thursday for 20 games without pay for a violation of the NHL's performance-enhancing substances program, the league said.
The suspension is accompanied by a referral to the league's program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment. The league said it would have no further comment.
Zykov said he didn't know what led to the failed PED test.
"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," he said in a statement. "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."
In a separate statement, the Knights said the 24-year-old "knowingly" used a banned substance.
"We monitor the nutrition, supplement intake, and overall diet of our athletes on a continual basis throughout our entire season," the statement said. "Valentin knowingly used a banned substance without the consent, recommendation or knowledge of our team."
Zykov is in his second season with the Knights. He was claimed on waivers by the Knights in December and spent the off-season in Las Vegas working on his conditioning to make the roster.
He has two assists in seven games this season after earning a spot on the third line, where he was expected to have an impact alongside Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch.
The 24-year-old Zykov is the second Knights player to be suspended due to a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance. Defenceman Nate Schmidt was suspended 20 games prior to the start of last season.