Canadiens F Jonathan Drouin taking leave of absence

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NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens
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Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin is taking an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons, the team announced Wednesday.

Drouin, 26, was placed on long-term injured reserve and the Canadiens asked everyone to respect his privacy.

"The most important thing right now is 'Jo' taking care of what he needs to take care of," Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said Wednesday. "When I heard his name this morning, I don't think hockey, I think about the person.

"I'm not going to get into the details. All that I wish for him is that he does what he needs to do, that he takes care of his business. We are with him, we support him, his teammates support him. We're a team and we're going to remain a team."

Drouin has missed Montreal's past three games with a non-COVID-19 related illness, however Ducharme dismissed that as the player's reason for taking a leave.

"No, it's not related at all," Ducharme said. "They are personal reasons and we need to respect that. ... It's his personal life and we're there to support him, so we will support him. ... We had discussions, it was the right thing for Jonathan to do. ... I have discussions with my players every day. I like to know how they feel. We are here to get the best out of them but also to help them. We are there for them as people. We will always be there for them."

Drouin has two goals and 21 assists in 44 games this season for Montreal (21-17-9), who entered Wednesday in fourth place in the North Division.

A first-round pick (third overall) by Tampa Bay in 2013, Drouin has 232 points (69 goals, 163 assists) in 393 games with the Lightning (2014-17) and Canadiens.

--Field Level Media