TAMPA — C Brian Boyle was one of many Lightning teammates surprised to hear LW Jonathan Drouin was suspended Wednesday night for not showing up to an AHL Syracuse game.
"It's obviously not fun when you read stuff like that," D Victor Hedman said.
But Lightning players continued to support the 20-year-old, whom they got to know as he played 70 games with Tampa Bay last season and 19 this season. Boyle said Drouin was one of the first teammates to get his son, Declan, born in May, a present.
"We loved him in here," Boyle said. "Write it down, I think he's a great kid, on and off the ice. He's not a selfish kid. So I don't know what's going on. I'm not worried about how it went down, just hope for the best for him."
D Victor Hedman said Drouin hasn't alienated himself from teammates.
"We obviously want people to be here, but at the same time, it's tough to see and we were surprised when we read about (the suspension)," Hedman said. "We know that Steve (Yzerman, GM) is doing his job, so we just focus on the game and try not to focus on what goes on elsewhere and what is going on with (Drouin).
"He's such a great kid. There have never been any issues inside the locker room. He's a great teammate; he works hard. It's been a tough year for him now being hurt a lot. We never felt anything in the locker room. He kept it to the outside. And if he came back and worked his way back, we'd welcome him back, for sure."
WAKEUP CALL: Thursday was supposed to be a triumphant return for former Lightning LW Richard Panik, a second-round draft pick in 2009 who was lost on waivers to Toronto before last season. Panik, acquired by the Blackhawks from the Maple Leafs in a Jan. 3 trade, had scored in back-to-back games. But he overslept Thursday, arrived at the arena late for the 11:30 a.m. skate and was benched for Chicago's 2-1 loss.
NUTS AND BOLTS: F Jonathan Marchessault was in the lineup for just the second time in the past seven games. RW Erik Condra and D Matt Carle were scratched. … The Jets, a potential suitor for Drouin, had two representatives at the game. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was at Tuesday's game against the Oilers.