When fans and the Montreal Canadiens were celebrating the team advancing to the Stanley Cup final on Thursday night, thought immediately went to missing interim head coach Dominique Ducharme. The poor guy tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Game 3 of the semi finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and couldn’t be with his players to celebrate the win.
But someone else was missing. Many injured and scratched players, like Jake Evans and Tomas Tatar, came on the ice for the team picture with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, but it didn’t take long to realize that Jonathan Drouin was nowhere to be found.
Back in late April, the Canadiens announced that Drouin would take an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons. Teammates, including 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.
Fans were hoping to see him celebrating with teammates on the ice last night, but Drouin remains away from the team, focused on his recovery. We are certainly worried, and hope he feels better. We wonder if we will see more of him as the Canadiens could hoist their first Stanley Cup for the first time since 1993.