Jonathan Drouin could play on Lightning road trip
Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin participated in Saturday's optional morning skate, his first with the team since suffering an upper body injury Nov. 1.
And coach Jon Cooper said while Drouin will miss his fifth straight game tonight, he could play on the upcoming five-game road trip that begins Monday in Brooklyn.
"I don't have any updates now, but hopefully on the road he's going to jump in," Cooper said. "I couldn't tell you if it's the first game or the fifth game, but he's coming with us."
Drouin got hurt in the first period of a 6-1 win over the Islanders in Brooklyn, taking a hit to the head area from Islanders' Calvin De Haan. He's skated and worked out on his own since Nov. 4.
"It's been better every day," Drouin said. "It's getting there."
Drouin said he doesn't know if he'll play on road trip, but considers it a "good sign" that he's coming. He'd have to go through contract drills first. Asked whether he suffered a concussion, Drouin said, "Hard to say," referring to it only as an upper body injury.
Drouin, who reached for a loose puck near the boards when De Haan hit, took some responsibility.
"I thought I just leaned in, put myself in a vulnerable spot," Drouin said. "I hold no grudge against him. He finished his check. It's fine."
But it still doesn't make it easy for Drouin to be sidelined, having been through a few injuries in his first couple years in the NHL. Drouin had five points (two goals, three assists) in his first 10 games.
"I'm kind of used to it now a little bit," Drouin said. "Like every other player, it's frustrating. And it's a process."
More from optional skate: G Ben Bishop will start against the Sharks. He sported a new mask at the skate but won't be breaking it out tonight. He feels like he's getting into a groove, allowing two goals or fewer in four of his last five starts, the only blemish a 6-1 loss to the Rangers when the whole team played badly. "I feel like my old self," Bishop said... It looks like, other than Bishop in net, it'll be the same Lightning lineup, with Slater Koekkoek in and Nikita Nesterov out. Cooper said of the defending Western Conference champion Sharks, it's almost like looking in the mirror, the two teams sharing similar styles.