Canadiens' Jonathan Drouin battled anxiety, sleep disorder

© Allen McInnis Montreal Canadiens’ Jonathan Drouin during NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks in Montreal on March 20, 2021.

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 as the team advanced to the Stanley Cup final before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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

Drouin said he never lost his passion for hockey, but there were times when he would go three days without sleeping.

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

Jonathan Drouin sat down with ⁦@ChantalMachabee⁩ and ⁦@renlavoietva⁩ to discuss the anxiety and sleep disorder which led to his leave of absence from Montreal last year. Jo looks great, he’s healthy and ready for training camp. pic.twitter.com/SD2jx7z7E6

— Allan Walsh (@walsha) September 20, 2021

Drouin didn’t play in that game or the next two games in a three-game series against the Flames in Calgary. On April 28, the Canadiens announced Drouin was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team for 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 and Drouin also has an interview with Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports that will air at 8 p.m.

Voici un extrait de mon entrevue avec Jonathan Drouin que je remercie pour sa confiance. 🎉💕https://t.co/JPxz4yfRIO

— Chantal Machabee (@ChantalMachabee) September 20, 2021

“I wasn’t feeling good,” Drouin told Machabee. “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 hit 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.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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