Canadiens’ Kassian enters rehab program after auto accident
BROSSARD, Quebec — Montreal Canadiens forward Zack Kassian has entered a substance abuse program after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Kassian, 24, was placed in "Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program," according to Monday’s statement from the NHL and NHL Players Association. He is suspended without pay until he is cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.
Earlier in the day, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said Kassian showed a "lack of character" when he was involved in the accident.
Kassian broke his nose and left foot in the crash early Sunday morning in Montreal. Two women with him in the vehicle also suffered non-life threatening injuries.
"I don’t have all the information, but it’s disappointing to say the least," Bergevin said. "I addressed the whole team this morning.
"We are professional and we have to behave like professionals. You have to be respectful and you’re lucky to be a hockey player. I’m a firm believer in character and that’s really a lack of character and judgment on his part."
Bergevin was told that Kassian was not driving the vehicle when it went off a road and crashed into a tree.
The Canadiens played a preseason game Saturday night in Ottawa and did not practice on Sunday. No charges were filed against the player.
Bergevin said he hoped it will serve as a wakeup call for Kassian, who was acquired in a trade with Vancouver in the offseason for veteran Brandon Prust.
Bergevin hadn’t yet spoken to Kassian and was still gathering details. Forward Dale Weise, who played with Kassian in Vancouver, had talked to him and was just happy to see that no one was badly hurt.
"That’s the main concern here: No one in the car was seriously injured," Weise said. "I don’t think we should be worrying about who did what wrong."