Turris relates to Drouin's plight: 'It's a tough, tough go'
While the Lightning will play in Jonathan Drouin's hometown of Montreal Tuesday, the suspended wing continues to work out and skate on his own every day somewhere in the city.
That's been Drouin's routine the past three weeks, since he did not show up for the Jan. 20 game for AHL Syracuse, forcing the indefinite suspension without pay. Drouin, who requested a trade in November, didn't want to suffer a deal-altering injury, so he waits in limbo, with no timetable on when - or if - the No. 3 pick from 2013 gets his desired fresh start.
Drouin has declined interview requests, so it's hard to know exactly what he's thinking.
But it's not a fun situation, according to Senators center Kyle Turris, 26, who went through a somewhat similar saga five years ago. Turris, the No. 3 overall pick in 2007 by the Coyotes, didn't feel he was getting used right in Arizona, requesting a trade in the summer of 2011 and holding out the first six weeks of the season, as an unsigned restricted free agent.
While Turris remains grateful it worked out, getting a trade to Ottawa in December 2011 that "saved" his career, he said it wasn't an easy decision to ask for a trade and sit out while inviting public scrutiny.
"It's tough," Turris said Monday. "Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you're doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.
"It was very difficult to do. You're getting a lot of heat from the media and people, and people within the organization. It was a tough, tough go."
The Turris-Drouin scenarios were different in that Turris was a restricted free agent without a contract when he chose to hold out, as opposed to Drouin, still in his entry level deal when he left the Crunch after playing seven games. "Legally, I didn't do anything wrong," Turris said.
Turris got his wish, dealt to Ottawa for David Rundblad and a second-round pick. All of a sudden, Turris was playing on the second line with captain Daniel Alfredsson, whom he "learned a lot from." Turris is coming off back-to-back 20-plus goal seasons, on pace for a third currently with 13 goals in 47 games heading into tonight's game with the Lightning.
"(The Senators) put me in a situation where I could grow and develop into the player that I can become, and still working to improve on," Turris said. "With that growth came confidence, because I had success. That combination of confidence and experience and being able to go through those situations, it's just been huge.
"To give me that opportunity here, it saved me."
The question is, will Drouin get the same kind of lifeline?