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Canadiens Drouin escapes concussion protocol; Ducharme cautiously optimistic

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The Montreal Canadiens are wishing and hoping. And hoping and praying.

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme says that forward Jonathan Drouin passed concussion protocol last night and that the club is cautiously optimistic that he will be okay.

Drouin was transported to hospital last night after taking a Brett Kulak wrist shot off his left ear early in the first period of the Habs 3-0 win over the Red Wings.

“He’s doing pretty well this morning,” Ducharme told reporters in French in Brossard this morning. “So good news on that front. He went through the concussion tests and at the moment, isn’t being treated for a concussion. It’s really day-to-day and we’ll re-evaluate him over the next 24 hours and see if he’s ready to go for tomorrow.”

Ducharme was cautious with his assessment of Drouin’s condition. The coach pointed out that there are instances where players test negative for a concussion before complaining of headaches and other related symptoms afterwards. So he won’t count his chickens before they hatch.

The coach did say that the team had not planned to call-up a forward from Laval as of yet. Indicating that they continue to hold out hope he’ll be healthy for the game against New York.

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Down the middle

If Drouin is good to go for tomorrow night’s game against the New York Islanders then expect him to play centre once again.

Ducharme said that he really liked his first shift in between Josh Anderson and Mike Hoffman. That trio set the tone for the Montreal Canadiens last night. For two straight minutes to start the game, the Habs kept pressure on the Red Wings in their zone with the puck on a string. That line was the catalyst for several other trios to come in waves and keep five exhausted Detroit players pinned in their own zone.

The coach did acknowledge that their second shift was a bit more of a challenge as they were forced to play in their own end. But all indications are that Ducharme wants to see more of Drouin at centre before he can make an assessment on whether he is suited for the role

With Cedric Paquette set to serve the second game of his two-game suspension for his hit from behind on Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, expect Drouin if healthy to play down the middle once again when the Montreal Canadiens host the Islanders at the Bell Centre tomorrow night.

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