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Senators’ Ryan ‘doing well’ while recovering from alcohol problem

Bobby Ryan

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 22: Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) skates with the puck during third period National Hockey League action between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators on February 22, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan met with the media on Friday for the first time since November when it was announced that he had entered the NHL/NHLPA assistance program.

Ryan revealed on Friday that he has been dealing with an alcohol problem and is “doing very, very well” on his road to recovery.

“It’s been trying at times, but everyone’s been very supportive,” said Ryan. “My recovery has been a process and a learning thing for me for sure, but I’ve come a long way and just continuing to get better with it each day.”

Ryan has been back with the team in some capacity since early December, gradually increasing his involvement. He returned to the ice in early February.

He admitted this is something he has been dealing with for a while and had attempted to fight it on his own before getting help.

“I was trying the white knuckle thing and do things the wrong way,” said Ryan. “I’d have 20 days of nothing and one real bad one and you just can’t get better without it. There’s such a stigma around asking for help and, I was trying to do it. I guess for me, I guess you could call it a panic attack, but it was more a realization that the route that I was going had no good end in sight. That’s not just professionally, that’s personally. I didn’t want to continue to do that. I had a lot of times where I woke up in the morning and was just overridden with guilt and shame, and saying I would do it. It had no good end.”

Ryan spoke for nearly 10 minutes on Friday.

You can see his entire press conference here.

It is not yet known when Ryan will return to the lineup, but he said the goal is to return soon and hopefully within the next two weeks.

In 16 games this season he has one goal and three assists for the Senators.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.