Jonathan Drouin says he’s ready to rejoin his teammates this season after taking some extended time off last spring to deal with his mental health.
The Montreal Canadiens announced on April 28 that Drouin was going on long-term injured reserve, taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team for “personal reasons.” Prior to the announcement, he missed three games with a “non-COVID illness.”
“I’ve had anxiety problems for many years; insomnia problems that relate to my anxiety,” Drouin told RDS Canadiens reporter Chantal Machabee in an exclusive interview on Monday. “That week in Calgary where we played three games (April 23-26) – I missed all three of them and wasn’t feeling good.
“It was where I hit a wall for me, and it was time to step away from the game and really take a step back from everything and kind of enjoy life. I needed it, and it was hard for me to do at that time and obviously, playoffs were coming around.
“It wasn’t an easy thing to do and I’m proud of what I’d done and 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 missed the rest of the regular season and a long playoff run that saw the Habs reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993. The forward had full support from management, his coaches and teammates as he prepared to return to the lineup this fall.
“I’m doing very well. I’ve had a good summer and a good break,” he said. “The time I took off, I spent with family and friends.
“It was just good to be back and do my training and my skating…I’ve had a lot of time off to think about stuff and just (be) happy with my summer and my training, all the workouts, all the skating. Just being back in Brossard feels good, to be around the guys in the room. It’s been a good summer.”
The full interview can be seen on RDS, RDS.ca and RDS Direct on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.