The Nashville Predators have not gotten off to the best start this season with a losing record at 2 wins and 3 losses and a -5 goal differential, and unfortunately Monday morning brought with it even more bad news from the Predators.
An official announcement from both the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association have revealed that Predators goaltender Connor Ingram will be taking a leave of absence from the team after voluntarily entering himself into NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. There has been no timeline given for a potential return from Ingram and in matters this serious the players are usually considered to be out "indefinitely."
The league and players association released a very short statement on the matter:
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that goaltender Connor Ingram of the Nashville Predators will be away from the team while voluntarily taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
There will be no further comment.
Although this is terrible news for the Predators and raises some genuine concerns about Ingram's well being, this is likely the best thing that could have happened for everyone involved. Off the top of my head the player I can most recently remember entering the program was then Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan who had struggled with alcohol addiction for several years at that point. By all accounts Ryan has turned his life around since returning from the program and is off to a red hot start this season with the Detroit Red Wings, having collected 4 goals and 1 assists for 5 total points in his first 5 games.
Of course this is only one anecdotal example but we do sincerely hope that this will also prove true for Ingram and that he will eventually be able to make a triumphant return to the NHL.
I expect that we will not learn of why Ingram has entered the program unless he wishes to volunteer that information himself, and considering the fact that he is no doubt going through his fair share of struggles at this time that may actually be for the best.
Get well soon Connor.