Struggling Ryder also dealing with family matter

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
2:49
PM ET

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- There are some things that make goal droughts seem a little less significant, and Bruins winger Michael Ryder is finding that out firsthand.

Last week, Ryder's brother Dan was arrested and charged with several offenses, including armed robbery, after an incident in a convenience store in the brothers' hometown of Bonavista, Newfoundland. The Calgary Sun reported over the weekend that the younger Ryder, once a third-round pick of the Calgary Flames, would remain incarcerated pending a psychiatric assessment.

It would be understandable if the Bruins' Ryder felt distracted and maybe even would want some time away from the team. But for now, Michael Ryder is hanging in there.

"I'm good. I don't really want to talk about it right now because it's sort of a family, personal thing. But everybody in a family always goes through something. And for us it's just a time we've got to stick by him and hopefully he gets better," Ryder told ESPNBoston.com after the Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena.

According to the Calgary Sun, Dan Ryder was suspended once in junior hockey with Peterborough for missing curfew and once as a pro with the Las Vegas Wranglers (East Coast Hockey League) for undisclosed issues. Last season, the Flames could no longer stand by him and released him. He eventually spent some time with Boston's farm club in Providence (AHL). This year, Dan Ryder was no longer in hockey.

The Bruins, as an organization, are doing their best to support Ryder while also doing what's best for the team. In 44 games, Ryder has scored just 10 goals and hasn't scored in seven straight games. Since the news of his brother's problems broke, Ryder is pointless with just three shots on net.

Head coach Claude Julien has coached Ryder at every level of the game.

"It's too bad because he's done all the right things to get himself ready this year and I think he's struggling more with his confidence. But in all honesty, you don't go through what's going on without feeling it," said the coach. "I think he's feeling it. But what's happened to [Dan Ryder] has happened before that. I guess it just adds to him trying to find his game.

"A certain part of you has to have a little bit of sympathy. It's a normal thing. But at the same time, you know that if he starts doing the things he does, he's going to help this team a lot. We know what he's capable of doing and there's been other guys in that situation we've been patient with. So right now it's about being patient and help him find his game. That's where he's at right now."

General manager Peter Chiarelli echoed those statements.

"It's always tough when you have problems with your family members. And to a certain point, you have to give guys leeway, whether it's good things or bad things -- good things like the birth of a child or bad things like what's going on with Mike's brother," said Chiarelli. "We're cognizant of it. He'd been underperforming prior to that, so we have to take that into account also."

Michael Ryder can be assured that the hockey community is pulling for his brother's life to improve. No less than popular Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry sent his best wishes to Dan Ryder during the Coach's Corner segment between periods Saturday night. It's little things like that that can help Michael Ryder get through such a tough time.

"Yeah, for sure. It's a tough family thing right now and we've just got to see what happens," he said.

Matt Kalman

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. He has been on the Bruins beat since the lockout for numerous publications and has been covering the Boston sports scene for a decade.

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