If there's one player that you would bet on being unfairly blamed for a team failing to meet expectations after an avalanche of preseason hype, who would you pick and why would it be Jonathan Drouin of the Montreal Canadiens?
This poor bastard. The Canadiens were upset in the first round of the playoffs largely because they scored 11 goals in six games. They traded a top defense prospect for Drouin, who is French-Canadian. Because of a charitable donation, Drouin has already drawn comparisons to PK Subban. After a career-best 21-goal, 53-point season, he signed a six-year, $33 million contract.
Drouin has been a Canadien for 10 minutes and already people are posting GIFs of his preseason zone entries.
I can't even begin to imagine the profanity-laced bilingual tirades awaiting Drouin if the Canadiens start slow and he commits the felonious act of going without a point for five games. If the Lightning are running away with the East while Mikhail Sergachev is a Calder Trophy candidate and Drouin has seven points in 20 games while the Canadiens are losing 2-1 games, good Lord.
I'm genuinely afraid for Drouin, a 21-year-old millionaire living his dream in his home province. I feel like I'm watching a horror movie and the comic relief just said, "Can't believe I finally won the lottery. I'm going to walk off into the woods for a minute to make a phone call to wife, who is about to give birth to our first child. Be right back." That guy is dead! Dead! Don't go into the woods! You won't come back!
Hockey is the dumbassiest sport going, because when shit goes wrong, it's always the best player that catches hell for the inadequacies of the 20-man team. People wrote negative columns about Sidney Crosby for years when the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to win Cups when their bottom-six forwards were Walter Stankwilly, Jean Levis, Anton Von Bon Bon, Kevin Arnold, Chandler Chunkpants, and Dick Dickerson.
Drouin isn't quite the best player on the Canadiens—maybe he can hold up Max Pacioretty as an American shield—but there's so much lightning rod potential. He's prime for criticism about his attitude and body language. That first time he's not available to the media after a loss will result in maturity questions. I've never seen a player set up to fail like this. Doesn't Canada have laws against this?
Think of it like this—Alex Galchenyuk had 17 goals and 44 points in an injury-riddled 2016-17 season and people acted like he was actively sabotaging the franchise. He outscored Brendan Gallagher and the decaying turtleneck-adorned corpse of Tomas Plekanec and suddenly Galchenyuk became the French word for trade. And that was all in a season where he had nine fewer points in nine fewer games than Drouin had last year on a better offensive team.
God, everyone is going to ignore the defense and the underperforming veterans and try to run Drouin out of town in November, aren't they? "Why are the Canadiens ranked 28th in goals? Is Jonathan Drouin to blame?" No one will remember the general manager let Andrei Markov and Alex Radulov go for nothing and idiots will pin the Canadiens' struggles on the guy who is producing at the exact same rate he did last year.
Please raise awareness for Jonathan Drouin Blame this season.
Unless Carey Price is awesome and the Canadiens run away with a terrible division. Then forget all this.
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