Ethan Bear Enters Player Assistance Program

Washington Capitals defenseman Ethan Bear will be taking a leave of absence from the Washington Capitals for what's being called "an indefinite period" as he has entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

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

It was only yesterday morning that Bear was putting in some extra time on the ice, well past the end of practice, as he hasn't seen game action in a couple of weeks.

Bear, 25, took the first couple of months of the 2023-24 season as an unrestricted free agent to continue his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, before signing a two-year deal with the Capitals in December. 

In 24 games in D.C., he has one goal and three assists. He'd been playing a career-low 14:54 per game until recently, when he's become a healthy scratch for the last seven games. 

In six NHL seasons, Bear has averaged 18:30 of ice time across 275 games, with 67 points and 343 blocked shots. He spent three years with the Edmonton Oilers to begin his career, then a season each with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vancouver Canucks.

We wish Bear the best in his treatment program.

 Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports