Breaking: Capitals Forward Enters Player Assistance; Out Indefinitely

 In the midst of a very disappointing season, Washington Capitals 11-year veteran forward Evgeny Kuznetsov will be out indefinitely as he enters the NHL/NHPA Player Assistance Program. 

 As per the terms of the program, he will return to the Capitals when he is cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators. 

Kuznetsov was not at Caps practice on Monday morning due to what the team referred to as “personal reasons.”

Kuznetsov has just 6 goals and 17 points this season in 43 games, while playing close to 19 minutes a night. That's on pace for just 31 points, which is the lowest points-per-game pace of his career. 

He has a $7.8 million cap hit, with one season remaining on his contract. He's heard his name on the rumor mill as points this season, but his cap hit, even with a chunk of it retained, would have been hard to unload. 

The 11-year veteran was a first-round pick of the Capitals in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (26th overall), and has 171 goals and 568 points in 723 career games. 

The Capitals are currently 22-18-7 with 51 points, and sit seven points back of the two Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference, held at the moment by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports