Evgeny Kuznetsov to enter NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program

Something was off with Evgeny Kuzentsov recenlty so the center is stepping away for the time being.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the press release from NHL PR:

"The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today that forward Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals will be unavailable to his Club for an indefinite period while he receives care from the Player Assistance Program of the NHLPA and NHL.

Under the terms of the joint program, he will return to the Club when cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators."

Evgeny Kuznetsov began the month of December as a healthy scratch. It was from that moment on there were questions about the Russian center's future. While he'll be away in the assistance program, it'll be good for Kuzy to use this opportunity to take care of his mental health.

Through 43 games, Kuznetsov has recorded six goals and 11 assists for 17 points. He can pretty much center any of the three lines with Nic Dowd occupynig the fourth line center responsiblities.

At today's practice with Kuznetsov unavailable, Spencer Carbery used Connor McMichael, Dylan Strome, Mike Sgarbossa and Nic Dowd down the middle. Sgarbossa was called up this monring from the Hershey Bears.

After Kuznetsov had the playoff perforamnce of a lifetime in 2018, his numbers dipped. Everyone wants to see Kuznetsov get back to that form that he was in back then. More importantly I hope Kuznetsov adds consistency to his game whenever he gets cleared from the player assistance program.

Kuznetsov had three assists in his last three games before the all star break. That inlcudes one in Minnesota and two at Dallas. Last season he had 12 while the season before that saw Kuznetsov score 24.

As much as playing the game, scoring goals, and trying to win are all important aspects in the game of hockey, the most important one is mental health. So we wish Kuzy well and hope he gets the treatment he needs.