Rumors started swirling ever since Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard missed Monday’s game in Nashville for what was described as personal reasons but the team never said anything beyond what Jared Bednar gave in his post game presser.
Then a report from TVA Sports surfaced over the past day signaling that he was away at a clinic. They stated it was headaches that have take Girard away from the game which wasn’t entirely accurate but was enough on the right track for his father to comment on Facebook about some health situation Girard is going through.
I’ve seen the Sam Girard report and can’t confirm the news, but his father posted this publicly today. Hope all is well. pic.twitter.com/INS3G2INeO— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) November 24, 2023
All that information was enough for a public comment as the NHL confirmed Girard has indeed entered the Player Assistance program.
Shortly after, Girard himself released a statement via his agent about the nature of his absence. He details that it is due to address some mental health, depression and anxiety concerns which has also led to alcohol abuse.
A statement from CAA Hockey client Sam Girard. pic.twitter.com/IE4hlAG0ZI— CAA Hockey (@CAAHockey) November 24, 2023
Hopefully Girard gets the help he needs and is able to return when he feels ready. It is unfortunate as he had experienced a strong start to his season and was clearly playing through some issues while doing so. The online hate he has received for several years which also caused him to vacate social media can’t be entirely unrelated, which is a shame.
Girard will be difficult to replace as he takes on a big role on the back end for the Avalanche. He was third among club defenseman in average ice time with over 20 minutes per game including nearly two and a half minutes on the penalty kill. Bowen Byram will see his minutes continue to increase in Girard’s absence and also this likely means Caleb Jones will remain with the Avalanche on the blue line for the foreseeable future. If and when Girard can return might dictate if additional help on the backend is required but for now the current players will soldier on without him.
Get well soon, Samuel. We are all rooting for you!