Jackets’ Laine enters Player Assistance Program

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine has entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program to receive care for an undisclosed issue.

The announcement, made via the NHL, NHLPA and Blue Jackets’ organization Sunday, indicated Laine will be out for an indefinite period of time while getting treatment. Laine will return to Columbus when cleared to do so by the program’s administrators.

“Patrik has our complete support, and our sole concern is his well-being,” Blue Jackets general manager and alternate governor Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “Out of respect for Patrik, we will have no further comment.”

Laine, 25, had been working his way back from a fractured clavicle injury suffered on Dec. 14 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was with the Blue Jackets on their recent road trip to Western Canada with an eye on returning at some point, but Laine abruptly went back to Columbus on Saturday.

“It’s just a setback with the injury,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “He’s not going to be able to play on the trip, so he went back.”

There was no updated timeline for Laine at that point, and Kekalainen said at the time that Laine’s setback was discovered while on the trip.

The injury had limited Laine to just 18 games this season, during which he registered six goals and nine points. He missed nine games in October with a concussion prior to suffering the clavicle injury. Laine had also been a healthy scratch for the first time in his career during a mid-November stretch and was sidelined three games with an illness after that.

Laine has consistently struggled with injury problems since the Blue Jackets acquired him via a trade with Winnipeg in January 2021. The Jets’ second overall draft pick in 2016 has appeared in 479 career NHL games to date, posting 203 goals and 387 points.

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