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Jonathan Drouin Is Prepared For The Pressure In Montreal

from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,

When the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning hooked up for one of the off-season’s biggest trades — a one-for-one swap that sent Drouin north and drool-inducing defence prospect Mikhail Sergachev the other way — everybody knew the Habs were getting a 22-year-old with all kinds of raw ability. A true rink rat who often had to be ordered out of the arena as a teenager, Drouin faced his share of doubt and disappointment on the road to becoming an impact NHLer. The journey, somewhat infamously, took a little longer than Drouin would have preferred, but anyone who questions his commitment should share a beverage with the people he suited up for and beside on his way to The Show. Now, everything he went through should help him handle the preposterous expectations that go with being the Canadiens’ first Francophone scoring star in 20 years.

In 2004, the AAA Lac St. Louis Lions organization put together one of their first Jr. Lions teams, a spring squad for 1995-born players. Technical director Karl Svboda and GM Raz Saltarelli coached the team, which ended up encountering a nine-year-old who would eventually become a fixture in Lac St. Louis. “The story goes either they win 8-7 or lose 8-7, but there was one kid on the other side who scored all the goals for his team,” says Jon Goyens, coach of the Lions midget club.

After seeing what a wee Drouin could do, the Lions extended an invite to attend one of their skills camps. Soon, making the roughly 80-minute journey from his home in the Mont-Tremblant region to Lions headquarters in Montreal’s West Island became a regular part of Drouin’s minor hockey experience. Once there, he made the most of his time. “Let’s say he was already peewee age,” Goyens says. “He’d come on with the atoms and demo drills, but [he’s doing it at] 100 miles-per-hour. Then he goes on with his own age group and he already felt pushed to be the best, so he’d go 101 miles-per-hour. And then he’d be that little brother tugging at your jacket saying, ‘I want to go on.’ He goes on with the older guys and now he’s going 105 miles-per-hour because he wants to keep up.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+drouin

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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