On the heels of a weekend car accident, the NHL has announced that Montreal Canadiens forward Zack Kassian has been placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH).
Per the rules of the program that was agreed upon by the NHL and NHLPA, Kassian will be suspended without pay until he his cleared by program officials for on-ice competition. He suffered a broken nose and foot in the accident.
Kassian was acquired by Montreal in an offseason trade that sent Brandon Prust to the Vancouver Canucks. Kassian was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft at 13th overall.
In 198 NHL games, Kassian has 38 goals and 31 assists for 69 points.
The 24-year old had been warned multiple times by various members of team management to get his behavior sorted out, but it appears that the problem lies much deeper than just straightening out his act. The hope is that Kassian will take this placement seriously, and work towards getting healthy before returning to the ice.
After all, it is just a game these people play. Health and wellness should always take precedent over a person’s athletic career. Here’s to hoping that the young forward gets the help he needs, and makes a full recovery as a human being.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.