Jonathan Drouin missed the entire Montreal Canadien’s run to the Stanley Cup final, which they ended up losing in five games to the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Back in late April, the Canadiens announced that Drouin would take an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons. Then-teammate Phillip Danault, also a French-speaking player from the province of Quebec, had opened up about what might be hurting Drouin and how serious this is, speaking about bullying and mental health issues.
It was clear that Drouin’s mental health needed a break from all of the pressure that has been placed on his shoulders. Drouin has not played since April 21st against the Edmonton Oilers. During warm-ups of the next game, he was seen speaking with team trainers and did not return to take part in the contest. He has since missed Montreal’s last three games as he has dealt with a “non-COVID illness.” He spent all of this time, alone, in his hotel room… In 44 games this season, Drouin scored two goals and added 21 assists. He was even asked by a reporter how he felt about his lack of goals this year, and answered with frustration that there was another important column to his stat sheet, pointing out his 21 assists.
But then over the offseason, it was said that Drouin was indeed doing much better and even took pictures with fans that showed him looking healthy. At the end of August, Drouin held his annual golf tournament and told RDS’ Pierre Houde that he was seriously ready to play centre in Montreal this upcoming season.
It didn’t take long for RDS to jump on the opportunity to have Drouin for a one-on-one interview with Chantal Machabee and then with TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie, however, in a surprising turn of events, Drouin pulled the plug and canceled all of his TV interviews coming up ahead of training camp.
This prompted a pundit Tom Lapointe to share a long (French) post on what’s happening to Drouin, more details that could explain why he canceled interviews.
He reveals how there was too much advertising made to promote Drouin’s interviews and how the forward suffered from heavy anxiety last season. Lapointe denies that Drouin’s absence had to do with drug issues or suicidal thoughts, though he cannot confirm and is only happy that Drouin is doing better. The Canadiens were respectful to the privacy that Drouin needed during recovery and the team might not have been willing to send him defenceless to reporters ahead of the season. We get that some reporters might be fuming over his change of heart to speak to the fanbase, but come on, he and the Habs have to do what’s best for the player and his mental health.
We only hope that the Habs will continue to make the best decision for Drouin’s mental and keep hoping he is healthy and happy.