Jonathan Drouin: 'It's up to me to be better'
Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin was one of the last to leave the ice after Wednesday's brief practice by Team North America.
Some of his teammates had already hit the showers, superstar captain Connor McDavid was holding court with the media. But Drouin remained, stickhandling, shooting on an empty net.
Drouin didn't see much ice in Monday's 4-3 loss to Russia, just 9 minutes, 59 seconds overall, as coach Todd McLellan wasn't completely happy with his play. Only Dylan Larkin played less (5:33). And Drouin knows he'll have to bounce back in Wednesday's must-win showdown with Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey.
"It's up to me to be better," Drouin said. "We have such a good team, so when things weren't really rolling, coach shortened the bench. I just have to be better."
Drouin skated on the fourth line Tuesday with Sabres' Jack Eichel and J.T. Miller (one heck of a fourth line), which speaks to the level of talent on this 23-and-under team. Eichel himself saw his ice time dwindle, just eight minutes on even strength, with Brandon Saad at 11:34. McLellan said Drouin needed to do a better job at getting the puck to the net, attempting shots, especially against a furious Russian attack.
"I thought his play has been quite good throughout the tournament - his game yesterday wasn't his best," McLellan said. "But the best evaluation a player has is his self evaluation, and if they're honest with you, they'll tell you, they'll believe it and they'll come back with a great performance. And Jonathan will do that for us tomorrow."
For more on Drouin, check out Wednesday's Tampa Bay Times.