Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Jonathan Drouin ends holdout, returns to Syracuse

Forward Jonathan Drouin reported to AHL Syracuse on Tuesday, ending a six-week period in which he refused to report then was suspended.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Forward Jonathan Drouin reported to AHL Syracuse on Tuesday, ending a six-week period in which he refused to report then was suspended.

TAMPA — Sick of sitting at home the past six weeks in a holdout, wing Jonathan Drouin returned to pro hockey Tuesday with AHL Syracuse.

His suspension lifted Monday, Drouin, 20, sounded like he took a first step in rejuvenating his career and perhaps his image.

And Drouin, despite requesting a trade in November, indicated his seemingly strained relationship with the Lightning could be salvaged.

"I think our relationship is fine," Drouin told reporters in Syracuse after Tuesday's practice. "We've talked to make the decision to come back here."

Drouin spoke publicly for the first time since walking out on the Crunch Jan. 20, when agent Allan Walsh said the wing wouldn't continue with the organization "in any capacity" until he was traded. But after the Feb. 29 trade deadline passed without any deal, Drouin called Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and expressed interest in returning.

"Sitting at home is not what I wanted to do, I want to play hockey, help the Crunch," Drouin said. "I missed hockey sitting at home; watching hockey on TV and all that stuff is not what you want to do. I'm happy to be back here and playing hockey."

Drouin, who had worked out near his Montreal home, admitted he's a bit rusty but is expected to play Friday for the Crunch. Yzerman wouldn't rule Drouin eventually receiving a callup to Tampa Bay, but the No. 3 pick from 2013 said he'll have to earn it.

Drouin was one of the last players on the ice Tuesday, collecting the pucks like a rookie.

"It's going to be up to me to put in the work," Drouin said. "I'm not just going to get called up to get called up. I have to put in the work here, and that's what I plan to do."

Yzerman could still trade Drouin this summer, and by playing, the touted wing might help his value and show other teams some maturity. Drouin took a hit publicly with his trade request and holdout, admitting "you definitely care how people see you."

Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop said teammates would welcome Drouin back with "open arms." Wing Ryan Callahan said: "Everybody loves him. He's one of us."

Drouin appeared to have regrets on how everything transpired but is ready to move on.

"Obviously I wish it maybe went the other way," he said. "But it (the holdout) happened that way, and it's going to be fixed in the summer and we'll figure it out. But right now I'm just playing for the Crunch. I'm happy to be here."

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning's Jonathan Drouin ends holdout, returns to Syracuse 03/08/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida beats LSU, wins first College World Series title

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Florida scored four runs in the eighth inning to pull away from LSU, and the Gators beat their SEC rival 6-1 Tuesday night to complete a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals for their first national title in baseball.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five after a run scores.
  2. As NCAA investigation continues, Baylor dances around sex-assault scandal

    College

    In 1996, Southern Baptist-affiliated Baylor University lifted its 151-year-old ban and allowed dancing on its Waco, Texas campus.

  3. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.