BROSSARD – Two short games with a damaged wrist, what more could Jonathan Drouin have left as a first impression on Martin St-Louis, Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton.
It would be unfair to keep this damaged monster back.
“In the field of hockey, I haven’t had a chance to prove myself. I spoke to Martin before and we didn’t really talk about hockey. At training camp it will be up to me to prove that I have my place here for a few more years. It’s up to me to prove to the leaders that I’m still part of the team. It’s hard when you’re on the sidelines, I haven’t had a chance to get into this wave of changes,” said Drouin, who had to settle for 20 points in 34 games this season.
For the third year in a row, the left-handed attacker has been plagued by injuries. For example, number 92 has only played 105 of the Canadian’s 209 regular games since 2019-2020 and also missed the long playoff run.
“I should be done with my wrists, they were both injured. It’s really not ideal for me, I’m a hockey player and I can’t play. It’s hard to spend time with the team when you’re a bit apart, it can take a long time. I hope to be 100% for our 82 games next year,” said Drouin, who had accumulated 53 points in 81 games in 2018-2019.
“The season is over, but it’s starting for me. I’m glad I’m still here and have another chance to play hockey,” added the one patiently arming himself in his condition.
Drouin expects to be fully recovered (right wrist) by mid-July at the latest and to be able to exercise again soon.
That said, given the Canadian faces a very high wage bill, it’s not impossible for the leaders to opt for the last year of his contract surrender.
Inevitably, Drouin thinks back to the fact that his last operation was delayed.
“I got injured against Vegas in January, we thought it was possible to avoid the surgery, but it got long and even longer. It bothered me a bit, but the pain eventually went away. However, after the first game against Ottawa, I knew that my wrist was almost finished, but I wanted to play anyway. I might have wanted to have surgery before, but I wanted to play for the new leaders,” said Drouin.
On the plus side of the equation, Drouin now knows what to expect as his condition has already been there. As he says, if he feels pain, it will prevent him from panicking.
In addition, Drouin sounds mentally stronger and it is very pleasant to watch.
“I’m fine, I now have resources, people who support me,” commented the one who is not often on social networks.
And when he manages to find his form, Drouin sees himself fitting into St-Louis’ approach.
“It’s my style, more puck possession and Martin has developed the hockey IQ of the players, showing different things that match my strengths. […] That’s how I analyze the matches I watch at home,” says Drouin, who is enthusiastic about this vision.
He also recognizes himself immensely when St-Louis instinctively lets his players go into the attack zone.
On the other hand, Drouin can understand some of Carey Price’s concerns.
“It’s a difficult situation, especially when you’ve had such a career and your body doesn’t give you the chance to play five games in a row. It’s impressive to see him go, even if his injury didn’t heal the way he wanted, he wouldn’t let go. We could see he had fun in the last game, he was rewarded and he deserves it. He always takes his time, whether it’s for young people or veterans, he’s an excellent model,” Drouin boasted.
In this chapter, Drouin had had the opportunity to forge small ties with Guy Lafleur through the CHUM foundation.
“He was a wonderful man. At my golf tournament, when he entered the room, everyone stopped eating or talking. When my father, it turned out from his eyes, he was one of his idols. I didn’t see him often, but he gave his love to everyone and I would have loved to see him play,” said Drouin.
“When I spoke to Guy, it always came out the same. Hockey is just a game, try to have fun. The fun shouldn’t go away, even if you’re 20 or 30 years old,” Drouin said with a lesson he wants to keep.
what they said
“I have always believed that the players will dictate when it is time to take the next step. We want to win and if we do our job well, we will speed up the process,” Brendan Gallagher insisted about the club’s relaunch.
“We have to be very realistic, we have work to do, but we will see the benefits. A lot of people think we will not be very good, but I think we will be better than that. I don’t think the process will be that long will last as some claim,” Jake Allen said on the subject.
“My game has been pretty consistent over the past two years. It’s not always perfect or beautiful and we didn’t win often, but I’ve worked hard. I think I’ve done well and showed that I can do it,” he added. Allen admits he could be the starter if Carey Price doesn’t return.
“I want the best to happen in this situation and that would be Carey’s return,” Allen added.
“It’s been a really frustrating year, but that doesn’t change my desire to be at CH, I want to win here,” Gallagher said.
“My medical appointment is coming up and it will be a long time! I play a physical style and I was able to take it before. I have to take the time to heal myself and regain my strength to feel comfortable in every match,” said Gallagher, who was plagued by a multitude of physical problems that led him to decline an invitation to the World Cup.
“I have no doubts, I am 100% sure that I will return to the level I played before. I understand that my production has really gone down and I haven’t lived up to my expectations,” Gallagher replied.
“Just like us, you can see Cole is an energetic youngster with a lot of swagger. He should always maintain this attitude, even if he didn’t count in the last game. He knows our offense is partly his fault and it’s nice to see him go,” Gallagher said with a big smile.
“After my last injury it was very difficult to get out of bed and out of the car or to walk. It’s going to be a big summer for me, it’s the chance to come back healthy. If I’m not able after that, I may have to make a difficult decision after that,” Byron said of his condition.