BROSSARD, Que. — Jonathan Drouin has cleared up the mystery over what he was doing with his pants down at the bench during the Montreal Canadiens‘s game in Chicago.
He was removing Flexall, a gel used to treat muscle soreness, from his legs.
"Flexall cream — it’s an icy-hot kind of thing," Drouin said Tuesday. "It didn’t have a good reaction on my skin in the third period, but I definitely put a little too much on that day."
Drouin, who had just scored what would be the winning goal in the Canadiens’ 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday night, was caught by television cameras with his pants lowered at the bench wiping his legs with a towel.
It recalled the 1990 incident in which Steve Lyons of the Chicago White Sox got up after sliding into first base on a bunt and pulled his pants down to remove dirt from his clothes, but then quickly pulled them backup when it dawned on him that 14,000 fans at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, not to mention TV cameras, were watching.
Drouin said he didn’t realize what he was doing until much later.
"I didn’t know I was going to be on TV when I was doing it, but that’s the business of it," he said with a smile. "I remember going on Twitter after the game and seeing a couple of videos.
"It was kind of funny but a little bit embarrassing."
His grinning teammates were more focused on that than on the announcement moments earlier that Drouin had been named the team’s player of the month for October.
It marked a strong start for the Canadiens’ key off-season acquisition, who had two goals and seven assists in 12 October games. His play was one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal 4-7-1 first month.
"It’s not the biggest trophy but it’s a nice honour," said Drouin.
The 22-year-old was picked up from Tampa Bay for rookie defenceman Mikhail Sergachev on June 15 and quickly signed to a six-year US$33-million contract.
One problem has been finding the right-wingers for the playmaking centre. It didn’t work out with sniper Max Pacioretty, but he looks to have found a soul mate in recent games with the equally gifted Alex Galchenyuk, whose feed at the blue line sent him in alone to score the game-winner win Chicago.
"We know where to go on the ice and know when we want to puck and when we don’t want it," Drouin said of the combination, which has free-shooting Artturi Lehkonen on the right side. "It’s just understanding.
"You can see there’s a little chemistry starting."
After a slow start and a demotion to the fourth line, Galcheynuk has picked up his game of late. He was a 30-goal scorer two years ago who dropped to 17 last season, but has never worked with a centre with Drouin’s hands and vision.
"We’re both skating, both trying to find each other," said Galchenyuk. "It’s two skill guys, but we’ve got to work hard.
"When I’ve got the puck I’m looking for him and I’m trying to get open for him as well."
Coach Claude Julien said Galchenyuk has been putting more effort into his game.
"That’s the best I’ve seen him play since I got here last (February)," said Julien.