November 15, 2019. That’s the last time Canadiens forwards Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron played a NHL game, both getting injured in a dominant with over the Washington Capitals. Since then, Drouin was operated on his wrist and Byron on his knee. While Byron suffered a setback by skating too soon, Drouin seems to be getting closer to a return to the Canadiens’ line-up, his team seriously struggling since he’s been out.
For the last two days, Drouin has been skating on the top line with Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher in practice as Tomas Tatar is recovering from the flu. So far, so good, right? Not so fast… This is what Claude Julien had to say after practice yesterday:
“It was an injury that required surgery. The decision to come back belongs to the player. We can’t force a guy to play if he isn’t comfortable. We’ve confirmed with the doctors that everything is good; his injury has healed. It’s up to the player to make the decision about when to return. We’re waiting to hear from Jonathan.” ~ Claude Julien
Ouch! Talk about throwing the player under the bus! In other words, we don’t know why he doesn’t want to play as he’s ready. But we can’t force him to. It seems pretty clear that Julien isn’t impressed with the amount of time his left winger has been out and seems to feel like Drouin is milking it. The fact that Julien would feel that way isn’t right to start with, but to publicly put him on the spot like that in front of the media? That’s going too far in my opinion.
Without taking sides about the validity of Douin’s injury here, we can all agree that calling one of your top players out publicly about an injured is not a good thing. Add this to the list of questionable decisions made by Julien for the past twelve months or so, I guess. To be followed, I’m sure… Go Habs Go!