Montreal Gazette

Drouin battled anxiety, sleep disorder

Speedy forward left team in April and missed long NHL playoff run

- STU COWAN Stucowan1

Jonathan Drouin says it was anxiety and a sleep disorder that resulted in him leaving the Canadiens in April, missing the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

“I've had anxiety problems for many years,” Drouin told Chantal Machabée of RDS. “Insomnia problems that relate to my anxiety.”

Drouin took part in the pregame warm-up on April 23 in Calgary before speaking with Graham Rynbend, the Canadiens' head athletic therapist, and then leaving the ice.

Drouin didn't play in that game or the next two games in a three-game series against the Flames. On April 28, the Canadiens announced Drouin was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team because of personal reasons.

“That week in Calgary, where we played three games ... I missed all three of them,” Drouin told Machabée in a clip of her interview with him that was released Monday afternoon. The full interview will air at 7:30 p.m. Monday on RDS.

“I wasn't feeling good,” Drouin added. “That was where it hit a wall for me and it was time to step away from the game and literally take a step back from everything and kind of enjoy life. I needed it. It was hard for me to do at that time and, obviously, playoffs were coming around. So it wasn't an easy thing to do and I'm proud of what I've done and I'm happy I did it. I'm 26 years old so I wanted to do that at that point in my career and feel good for the next years.”

Drouin finished the season with 2-21-23 totals in 44 games. He has two seasons remaining on a six-year, Us$33-million contract with an annual salary cap of $5.5 million.

Drouin will take part in the Canadiens' training camp, which opens Wednesday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard when players will have physical and medical testing before hitting the ice the next day.

 ??  ?? Jonathan Drouin is expected to be at the opening of Canadiens' training camp on Wednesday.
Jonathan Drouin is expected to be at the opening of Canadiens' training camp on Wednesday.

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