Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Cooper: I'd welcome Drouin back to Lightning

TAMPA — RW Jonathan Drouin played for AHL Syracuse on Friday in his first game since ending his six-week holdout/suspension, and he had an assist in a 5-2 win over Bridgeport.

A lot of eyes in Tampa Bay will likely be on Drouin, 20, with GM Steve Yzerman saying the No. 3 overall draft pick from 2013 could get a callup to the Lightning. And coach Jon Cooper said that wouldn't be an issue with him, even with Drouin's decision to request a trade in November and make it public in January.

"It's not a situation for any of us where it's a personal grudge thing or anything like that," Cooper said WDAE-AM 620 on Friday. "(Drouin) felt this was something he had to do, and I think it took a lot of guts to do what he did, whether it was right or wrong. But to sit here and say, 'Oh my gosh, that kid will never come back,' you can't say that. I don't think you can sit here and say, 'Well this kid is 20 years old, made this decision and now he's done with the organization.'

"If he can help us — what's the saying? — why would you bite your nose off to spite your face? … We're trying to win a Stanley Cup, and the players in this organization that can help us win the Stanley Cup right now are what we have up top here. But if there's somebody else, including Jonathan, that can help us do that, we'd be crazy not to bring him back there."

Drouin's return to action could help him land a trade this summer. Scouts from the Capitals, Flyers, Coyotes (two), Senators, Wild, Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets were in Syracuse on Friday. But Drouin could earn himself a callup, provided space opens up on the roster.

"We wish him well, hope he does well," Cooper said. "Who knows? In four, five weeks when he's back in game shape … we'll see how he's doing."

LINING UP: D Braydon Coburn returned to the lineup in the 3-1 loss to the Flyers on Friday after missing two games with a lower-body injury sustained March 5. The injury forced Coburn to miss a much-awaited return Monday to Philadelphia, where he had spent most of his career before being acquired by the Lightning in a trade-deadline deal last year.

"That was a tough one to swallow," Coburn said. "You circle that date on the schedule for when you are going to go back. It's unfortunate."

D Anton Stralman (illness) also returned after missing one game. D Matt Carle and RW Jonathan Marchessault were healthy scratches.

HIGH PRAISE: With Coburn back, D Slater Koekkoek, on an emergency recall, had to return to Syracuse. But Koekkoek, a 2012 first-round pick, made another strong impression.

"Slater has not disappointed one time since he's been up here," Cooper said. "Now it's getting to the point where you can keep putting him out and you're not thinking, 'Is he nervous? Is something going to happen here?' He's playing with confidence, and every time he keeps getting brought up here, he's improved, and that's a really good sign. He's showing his growth in the minors and his growth as a player. It's great to see that. Unfortunately, there's not room for him at this moment, but he's definitely playing himself in."

Comments
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Golden Knights are giving Vegas a great odds-beating story in their first year.The expansion team has the whole league playing catchup.James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault scored to help Vegas beat the Hurricanes 5-1 on Sunday and...
Updated: 4 hours ago
What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped another ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Ondrej Palat out indefinitely, Lightning calls up two

Ondrej Palat out indefinitely, Lightning calls up two

The Lightning's telling trip just got tougher.Wing Ondrej Palat flew back to Tampa for more tests Monday and will be out indefinitely, a big blow to the Lightning's shutdown line. Palat suffered a lower-body injury getting speared by Minnesota's Jare...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Mikhail Sergachev gets thrown into the fire for Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev gets thrown into the fire for Lightning

ST. PAUL, Minn. — For the first 20-plus games this season, Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness knew "the look" was coming.The other team’s top line would jump over the boards and Tampa Bay rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev would peek over at Bow...
Published: 01/20/18
Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

One week from today, Tampa will be the center of the hockey world.The All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. Players will smile for the cameras. They'll put on a fantastic show. Maybe they'll catch a bead or two from a Gasparilla parade.But you ...
Published: 01/20/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Published: 01/20/18
Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Keith Harris fondly looks back on some memorable days from his Tampa upbringing when he worked as a lifeguard at a pool next to a Boys & Girls Club. ¶Whenever it rained, he watched as the kids retreated to the safe haven of the club. They entered int...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18