Kassian praises Chiarelli for reviving career

Posted: 21/07/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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When the Edmonton Oilers inked forward Zack Kassian to a three-year deal last month, it did a lot more than just secure their bottom-six forward group.

It signified that the 26-year-old has finally turned a page on his battle with alcohol addiction, and in the process revived a career that once looked to be nearing its end, something Kassian credits to Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli.

“It doesn’t happen without Peter Chiarelli, who gave me the opportunity,” Kassian told Jason Gregor of OilersNation.com.

“I told him that day I was going to prove to him he made a right decision and today we’re sitting here with a new contract. I still feel I need to keep proving myself. It doesn’t stop now that I have the new deal. I just need to keep working and proving people right.”

Despite rarely finding the score sheet, Kassian serves as a key contributor for the Oilers, playing with an exuberant edge while occasionally chipping in with a timely goal, assist, or scrap to fire up his team.

In 79 regular-season games last season, Kassian registered seven goals and 17 assists to go along with 201 hits – good for 23rd-most in the NHL.

With his foreseeable future now secure in the City of Champions, Kassian realizes that it’s time to prove that his battle with alcohol is behind him for good.

“For me, I made a promise to my family, to the Edmonton organization, and, most importantly, to myself that I wasn’t going to drink again, and as soon as I made that decision I feel like that’s when everything started climbing back upwards,” Kassian said.

“I feel like if your mindset is you’re not going to drink again, you’re not going to drink again. You make a tough decision and stick with it. I think that’s where I’m at now with it. Obviously, I have a lot to lose, which helps with the team we have in Edmonton.”

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