Ex-Canadiens player Chris Nilan sorry for rude comments about Jonathan Drouin

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Former Montreal Canadiens player Chris Nilan criticized Jonathan Drouin over his health issues, then filmed an apology video. (Drouin photo via Getty)
Former Montreal Canadiens player Chris Nilan criticized Jonathan Drouin over his health issues, then filmed an apology video. (Drouin photo via Getty)

Things have not gone well for the bottom-dwelling Montreal Canadiens this season, and it seems like the frustration has boiled over for a notable alumnus.

On Saturday, a video emerged of former Canadiens tough guy Chris Nilan criticizing Habs winger Jonathan Drouin for missing that night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs due to injury.

“My God, Jonathan Drouin’s not playing tonight? Go figure,” Nilan told the camera sarcastically while driving his car. “What’s gone wrong now, Jonathan? Watch the game; it’s a lot safer watching the game from home.”

Drouin is currently sidelined with a wrist injury, last appearing in Montreal’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on March 21.

After two days of online backlash over his comments, Nilan published an apology video to Twitter on Monday.

“Jonathan Drouin, I'm reaching out to you because I want to apologize to you," the 64-year-old said. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I know I made one on Saturday. I put out a video about you which was insensitive, cruel and just plain wrong.

"I can only imagine how it made you feel; I know I didn’t feel good about it when I looked at it once again. My deepest apologies. And I can guarantee you one thing: it will never, ever happen again."

Drouin has had a less-than-ideal time in his five years with the Canadiens, recording 46 goals and 157 points in 263 games. The Ste-Agathe, Que., native, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday, has also struggled to stay healthy over the last few seasons, notably missing Montreal’s unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Final last spring as he dealt with mental health issues.

Nilan, a veteran of 688 NHL games with 3,043 career penalty minutes to his name, had hosted a radio show on TSN Radio 690 Montreal since 2013 until he was let go by Bell Media earlier this year for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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