Golden Knights' Zykov suspended 20 games for PEDs
David Becker / National Hockey League / Getty

Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov has been suspended 20 games without pay for violating the NHL/NHLPA performance-enhancing substances program, the league announced Thursday.

The team issued the following statement, agreeing with the league's ruling:

"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 the second time in as many years that a Golden Knights player has been booked for PEDs, as defenseman Nate Schmidt received a 20-game ban to begin last season.

The team took a vastly different stance with Schmidt's suspension, though, stating at the time that it "strongly disagreed" with the ruling. During the appeal, it was revealed that only seven-billionths of a milligram of the substance was found in Schmidt's system - equivalent to a pinch of salt in an Olympic swimming pool. An expert concluded that there was no evidence of intentional use.

Zykov says he isn't sure how the banned substance got into his body.

"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."

However, contrary to Zykov's own statement, general manager George McPhee said Zykov told him yesterday that he knowingly took the substance and has taken that sort of substance for four years, according to The Athletic's Jesse Granger.

Zykov's agent, Rolland Hedges, said his client was taking an "over-the-counter supplement that has been approved" and was unaware of any banned substances in the supplement.

Hedges added that Zykov won't be appealing the suspension.

The 24-year-old winger had two assists in seven games this season while playing in a bottom-six role.

Golden Knights' Zykov suspended 20 games for PEDs
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