Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin has opened up on the reasons why he took a break from hockey last spring during his club’s push for the playoffs.
In interviews aired Monday night on RDS and TVA Sports, Drouin revealed that he was suffering from anxiety and insomnia last season, problems that have afflicted him for years.
The 26-year-old said his problems reached a peak as the team was warming up for its April 23 game in Calgary against the Flames. Drouin was caught on camera looking pale and suddenly leaving the ice to return to the dressing room.
“That week was difficult for me,” Drouin told RDS. “I had fallen ill to the point where I was no longer controlling my body. That was really the moment when I realized that I needed to take a break from hockey, to take a step back.”
He has not played for the Canadiens since, even though the team went all the way to the Stanley Cup final before falling in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I had made the decision to take care of myself. I was happy with my decision. I respected my decision,” Drouin said. “For me, it was just being able to watch them, to give my support to my teammates and coaches. I was so happy with every game we won. The passion never left me.”
Expected on ice to open camp
The athlete from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., says he has since restored his mental health, and last week he skated with his teammates at the Canadiens’ practice facility.
“I went to find help, I went to find people to be around me,” Drouin recounted to RDS. “Now I understand how it happens, I understand the little moments when I feel anxiety. I am now better equipped than I was before.”
He addressed rumours that he had entered rehab, saying they were false.
“I have never had a drug or alcohol problem,” he said.
He is expected to be on the ice for the Habs’ training camp, which officially kicks off Wednesday, and he commented on his hopes for the upcoming season.
“I am really happy to be back. I just want to have fun and get better every day,” Drouin told RDS. “I know it’s a cliche, but just having fun playing hockey is going to be the best thing for me.”
In 229 regular-season games with the Canadiens, Drouin has 40 goals and 137 points.
Hall of Famer Mike Bossy reveals lung cancer battle – Toronto Sun
Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Bossy, 64, announced his illness on Tuesday in an open letter in French on TVA Sports’ website. He is stepping away from his analyst job at TVA Sports, with whom he has worked since 2015.
“Today it is with sadness that I must retire from your screens for a mandatory break,” Bossy wrote in French. “A necessary break during which I will have to receive treatment for lung cancer.
“I can tell you that I intend to fight with the determination and the enthusiasm that you have seen me display on the ice and in my game. That same determination that helped me achieve my dreams and my goals, the one that propelled me to the top of my sport, when I still put on my skates.”
The NHL acknowledged Bossy’s battle on its publc relations account on Twitter: “The @NHL family is with you, Mike Bossy.”
A four-time Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders (1980-83), Bossy recorded 1,126 points (573 goals, 553 assists) in 752 career games. The eight-time All-Star spent his entire 10-season NHL career with the Islanders.
Bossy won the 1978 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year, and the 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. He also was a three-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy recipient (1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86).
A chronic back injury forced Bossy to retire following the 1986-87 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
“The battle I am about to wage will not be easy,” Bossy wrote. “Know that I will give my 100 percent, nothing less, with the objective of meeting you again soon, after a very eventful hockey game. You will never be very far in my thoughts. On the contrary, you will occupy a privileged place and you will be one of my motivations to get better.”
Raptors Notes: Boucher, Roster, Nurse, Tax – hoopsrumors.com
After missing the entire preseason due to a dislocated finger, Raptors big man Chris Boucher has been cleared to return for the team’s regular season opener, writes Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press (link via The Toronto Star).
Boucher had a breakout year in 2020/21, averaging 13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.9 BPG in 60 games (24.2 MPG). He’s expected to once again play a regular role in the Raptors’ frontcourt this season before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2022.
“My whole career, my whole time in Toronto, nothing has been promised … I had to work for everything, I see it the same way this year,” Boucher said of his mindset in a contract year, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). “… At the end of the day I gotta be consistent, that’s the one remaining thing I gotta focus on.”
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- Toronto’s roster, which is heavy on long, versatile forwards, is unlikely any group the franchise has put together in its 27 years of existence, opines Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. As Smith observes, 11 of the Raptors’ 15 players on standard contracts have listed heights of at least 6’7″, but none are taller than 6’9″.
- Having lost veteran leaders like Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and Marc Gasol in recent years, head coach Nick Nurse will be tasked with leading a less experienced group this season, Smith writes for The Toronto Star. While Nurse adjusts his style to accommodate the new-look roster, Fred VanVleet says he’s helping the newcomers adapt to Nurse’s outside-the-box approach to coaching. “He’s a little weird at times, but he won us a championship, so he knows what he’s doing,” VanVleet said.
- Following the Raptors’ roster cuts on the weekend, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca took an in-depth look at the team’s cap and tax situation and which recently-waived players are – or aren’t – expected to play in the G League with the Raptors 905. Toronto’s team salary is currently above the luxury tax line, but the club still has the flexibility to duck below that line after pushing back the salary guarantee dates for Sam Dekker and Isaac Bonga.
Raptors reveal starting lineup for season opener vs. Wizards – Yahoo Canada Sports
After weeks of speculation, we finally know who Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is using in his starting lineup — at least to start the season.
The Raptors announced Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa as their starting five for Wednesday’s season-opening game against the Washington Wizards at Scotiabank Arena. It’s not the most surprising lineup, with Dragic beating out Gary Trent Jr. and Achiuwa earning the nod over fellow big men Khem Birch and Chris Boucher.
The frontcourt doesn’t possess much size, but Barnes, Anunoby and Achiuwa are all long players with plenty of athleticism to boot. That should make for a strong defensive unit, even without a traditional centre.
In VanVleet and Dragic, the Raptors feature a veteran backcourt that can facilitate for teammates and knock down the three-point shot with consistency.
Whether this five-man unit will be the norm going forward or if Toronto will adapt game-to-game based on matchups remains to be seen.
Nurse said he plans to use nine or 10 players in his rotation on opening night, meaning Birch, Trent, Boucher, and Svi Mykhailiuk should all see minutes off the bench.
Boucher was questionable after missing the entire preseason with a dislocated finger, but Nurse confirmed he was available against the Wizards.
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