Canadiens Pocket book: Jonathan Drouin says staying optimistic is the important thing


“We acquired to get again to simply taking part in and being excited to play and optimistic,” he says as Habs attempt to work their manner out of stoop.

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Other than having a bunch of stitches on his higher lip, Jonathan Drouin was feeling fantastic at apply Monday afternoon in Ottawa.

Drouin left the ice late within the second interval of Sunday night time’s Three-2 additional time loss in Ottawa and didn’t return after being checked face-first into the glass by Senators defenceman Mike Reilly. Drouin stated he went by way of the NHL’s concussion protocol and was held out of the remainder of the sport for precautionary causes.

“I felt 100 per cent immediately,” Drouin stated throughout a video convention after apply. “It was simply precautionary. Slightly little bit of a stun. I didn’t get an opportunity to defend myself in any respect. I simply actually hit that stanchion straight away. It was bleeding from the mouth and contained in the mouth. However I felt fantastic after the sport final night time. It was precautionary and again to 100 per cent immediately. Every part’s regular.”

Every part’s not regular proper now for the Canadiens, who’re 2-Four-1 of their final seven video games after getting off to a 7-1-2 begin. They’ve scored solely 13 targets of their final seven video games and have fallen to fourth place within the North Division standings with a 9-5-Three document.

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“Everybody’s acquired to remain optimistic,” stated Drouin, who has 1-10-11 totals in 17 video games. “These occasions aren’t simple. Everybody’s in a little bit stoop, not taking part in the best way we wish to play. Negativity comes fairly early and also you wish to put that away actual quickly and ensure we’re optimistic. If it’s a mistake and it (outcomes) in a objective, the bench needs to be alive, be certain that this man is prepared for his subsequent shift after his mistake. Should you’re optimistic, you might have good vitality, issues are going to go nicely. You’re going to really feel nicely at the very least and be sure to can play the appropriate manner.

“We acquired to get again to simply taking part in and being excited to play and optimistic.”

The Canadiens will play the Senators once more Tuesday night time in Ottawa (7 p.m., TSN2, TSN5, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). The Senators (5-14-1) are the worst staff within the NHL, however they’ve received two of their three video games in opposition to the Canadiens and restricted them to 2 targets in every sport, profitable Three-2 on the Bell Centre on Feb. Four and dropping 2-1 in Ottawa on Feb. 6.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs (14-Three-2) are in first place within the North Division, however have misplaced two of their 5 video games in opposition to the Senators, together with one in additional time.

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Managing expectations

Expectations have been excessive for the Canadiens after they acquired off to their 7-1-2 begin whereas outscoring the opposition 44-27.

Now some followers are beginning to get upset, nervous this staff may truly miss the playoffs.

“You don’t wish to take heed to the surface an excessive amount of,” Drouin stated. “It’s inside that room … the reply’s contained in the room and it’s inside that group. Once you begin listening to the surface, the expectations … now we have expectations from ourself within the room and the teaching employees does.

“The gamers we acquired this summer season and the best way we began the season, we wish to be a prime staff in our division,” Drouin added. “We’re not completely satisfied being fourth, we wish to be up there and ensure we’re battling for that first spot. We wish to be the very best staff in our division. That’s a part of the expectation now we have as a staff, however the exterior world doesn’t actually matter for us. It’s nearly ensuring we’re able to play each night time and we keep optimistic.”

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When requested if it’s as much as the coaches or the gamers to get issues again on observe, Drouin stated: “It’s each. Coaches put a system, gamers should execute it. It’s fairly easy. Typically changes occur … you bought to be sure to’re prepared for these changes within the video games. Gamers play …. gamers should do their job and ensure they’re able to do their job — and we’re. Like I stated, we acquired to play the best way we performed earlier within the season with the vitality we had.

“We all know what’s at stake,” Drouin added. “We all know how we’ve performed up to now. We all know once we’re not taking part in nicely why we’re not taking part in nicely. … You bought to seize that frustration in a great way and a optimistic manner and ensure we’re able to play. If we take that on the appropriate aspect and the appropriate manner we’re going to be fantastic right here. Like I stated, it’s cliché, however staying optimistic as a staff goes to make this go simpler and sooner by way of this little stoop now we have.”

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What’s the issue?

Drouin was additionally requested what’s the largest drawback with the Canadiens proper now.

“I believe we’re too far aside,” he stated. “We’re a great staff once we’re 5 round (the puck) and we’re breaking all collectively. We’ve acquired good pace and the Ds transfer the puck nicely. I believe proper now there’s possibly one man that stretches a little bit an excessive amount of and we’re sort of too unfold aside the place we will’t create pace. We’re late getting that stretch man. I believe it’s everybody getting again to that sort of five-man unit. It’s a cliché, however once we’re taking part in nicely we’re shut collectively, we’re making little performs and going up the ice collectively.

“We’re not skating the best way we’re used to,” Drouin added. “We’re not monitoring. Our staff’s make a turnover and pounce on it … that’s how we play and that’s how we’re good once we’re taking part in our sport at a excessive pace. Creating the offence comes from defence on our staff and I don’t suppose we’ve achieved a great job sufficient to create turnovers, make stops in our finish and go proper at their finish with pace. That’s the largest a part of our sport and we acquired to right that.”

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Shortening the bench

With Drouin out of the sport and the Canadiens trailing 2-1, Julien determined to shorten his bench within the third interval whereas transferring Corey Perry up from the fourth line to take Tomas Tatar’s spot on the third line with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia.

Perry scored the tying objective at 14:35 of the third interval, whereas Tatar stayed on the bench for the ultimate eight minutes of the interval and all the additional time. Tatar, the Canadiens’ main scorer final season with 22-39-61 totals, completed the sport with 10:59 of ice time, whereas Perry had 10:19 and Jake Evans had a team-low 10:18.

Tatar has Four-5-9 totals in 16 video games this season and has been made a wholesome scratch as soon as. He has scored at the very least 20 targets in every of the final six seasons and is within the remaining season of a 4 12 months, US$21.2-million contract with a $5.Three million salary-cap hit.

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“Among the modifications we made yesterday within the sport the place some guys performed much more and others performed quite a bit much less,” Julien stated. “On the finish of the day, I don’t suppose it’s actually technique greater than it’s we’re simply not executing nicely.

“Once you discover your sport, swiftly your technique’s good once more and that’s what now we have to do proper now,” the coach added. “We’re not in synch and we’re not taking part in nicely. It’s so simple as that. Should you’re not taking part in nicely you’re not going to have success. So we acquired to discover a technique to tidy up our sport right here and get some confidence going.”

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Kulak again with Romanov

Brett Kulak, who has been a wholesome scratch for the final three video games, was again with Alexander Romanov on the third defence pairing at apply Monday whereas Victor Mete was the odd man out.

Kulak and Romanov have been companions for the primary eight video games this season and performed very nicely collectively whereas Mete was a wholesome scratch. However after Mete’s agent went public with a commerce request for the participant, Mete was put within the lineup the following sport with Kulak popping out.

Mete is pointless within the 5 video games he has now performed and is even in plus/minus whereas averaging 14:49 of ice time. In the meantime, the play of each Kulak and Romanov has regressed. Romanov had a season-low 12:45 of ice time Sunday night time in Ottawa, whereas Mete solely performed 10:50.

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Romanov, who was made a wholesome scratch for one sport, has 1-Three-Four totals and is plus-Four in 16 video games whereas averaging 17:56 of ice time. Kulak, who has been made a wholesome scratch for 4 video games, has Zero-Three-Three totals in 14 video games and is plus-Three whereas averaging 14:02 of ice time.

“There’s occasions the place he will get actually, actually busy and I believe that’s the place we’re making an attempt to settle his sport down a little bit bit,” Julien stated in regards to the 21-year-old rookie Romanov. “Preserve the sport easy, good first go and that sort of factor. Nevertheless it’s extra about settling him down. We speak about typically he’s acquired completely satisfied ft and actually, actually busy on the market. In order that’s most likely the primary factor. Should you can, I assume, management his sport or calm it down a little bit bit, I believe that will likely be an enormous plus for him.”

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The traces

Right here’s how the ahead traces and defence pairings checked out apply Monday:

Drouin – Suzuki – Anderson
Toffoli – Danault – Gallagher
Tatar – Kotkaniemi – Armia
Byron – Evans – Perry
Lehkonen

Chiarot – Weber
Edmundson – Petry
Kulak – Romanov
Mete

What’s subsequent?

The Canadiens will play the Senators Tuesday night time in Ottawa (7 p.m., TSN2, TSN5, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). The Canadiens will then fly to Winnipeg on Wednesday and play two video games in opposition to the Jets on Thursday (eight p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) and Saturday (10 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports activities, TSN 690 Radio). The Jets are the one staff within the North Division the Canadiens have but to face this season.

Subsequent week, the Canadiens will play three straight video games on the Bell Centre. The Senators would be the guests on Tuesday (7 p.m., TSN2, TSN5, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM), adopted by two video games in opposition to the Jets on Thursday (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) and Saturday (7 p.m., SNE, SNW, CITY, TVA Sports activities, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

scowan@postmedia.com

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