Drouin says leave of absence was to deal with anxiety, insomnia

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Jonathan Drouin said his leave of absence from the Montreal Canadiens last season was to focus on his mental health.

"I've had anxiety problems for many years. Insomnia problems that relate to my anxiety," Drouin told RDS' Chantal Machabee, according to TSN. "That week in Calgary where we played three games (April 23 to 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 literally 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 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."

The Canadiens placed Drouin on long-term injured reserve for personal reasons on April 28, with an indefinite timeline for his return to the team. He didn't play again despite Montreal's run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The first update on Drouin's absence came in late July when general manager Marc Bergevin said the player was feeling great and "ready to go."

The third overall pick from the 2013 NHL Draft went into more detail about what he was dealing with.

"The passion never left me. It was really to take a step back, to have a lifestyle that was easier for me to play hockey," Drouin told Machabee. "There were times where I could have gone three nights without sleeping and go and play back-to-back games. It's not something that's normal for anybody and I needed to change that a bit."

Drouin added that he's "doing very well" after spending the summer with family and friends. He's expected to be back in the Canadiens' lineup this coming season.

Drouin says leave of absence was to deal with anxiety, insomnia
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