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Ryan returns to practice with Senators

Forward entered NHL/NHLPA player assistance program Nov. 20 @NHLdotcom

Bobby Ryan returned to practice with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

The forward left the Senators and entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program Nov. 20. He has four points (one goal, three assists) in 16 games this season.

"He's a really good guy," coach D.J. Smith said. "The guys like him. You can see they support him. When you have tough times that's what teammates are for, family is for. The guys were certainly happy to have him back."

There is no timetable on when Ryan will be ready to play. The Senators (18-24-11) are seventh in the Atlantic Division and 18 points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference entering their game against the Colorado Avalanche at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS2, ALT, NHL.TV).

"He's certainly a ways away," Smith said. "It's like missing training camp and then showing up. He's going to have to skate with us and do the drills, get in all the battle stuff, systems, all that stuff. He took his first step today. 

"It's like starting over but he'll get there soon enough."

Ryan, the No. 2 pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2005 NHL Draft, has 551 points (250 goals, 301 assists) in 825 games with the Ducks and Senators. He scored at least 30 goals in four straight seasons for Anaheim (2008-12), including an NHL career-high 35 in 2009-10.

"It's exciting," goalie Craig Anderson said. "He's gone through a lot and we're here to support him. Seeing him out there with a whole group of guys instead of skating by himself is definitely a treat for us. We're looking forward to seeing him compete with us on a daily basis and work his way back into the lineup."

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