OTTAWA — While the Lightning will play in Jonathan Drouin's hometown of Montreal tonight, the suspended wing continues to work out and skate on his own somewhere in the city.
That has been Drouin's routine since he did not show up for the Jan. 20 game for AHL Syracuse, leading to the indefinite suspension without pay. Drouin, who requested a trade in November, doesn'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.
It's not a fun situation, according to Senators C 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 correctly in Arizona. So he requested a trade in summer 2011 and held out the first six weeks of the season as an unsigned restricted free agent.
Turris remains grateful it worked out, saying a trade to Ottawa in December 2011 saved his career, but said it wasn't easy to ask for a trade and invite public scrutiny.
"It's tough," Turris said. "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 held out, as opposed to Drouin who is still in his entry-level deal.
"Legally, I didn't do anything wrong," Turris said.
Turris got his wish, being dealt to Ottawa for David Rundblad and a second-round pick. Suddenly, Turris was playing on the second line with then-captain Daniel Alfredsson. Now Turris is coming off back-to-back 20-plus goal seasons and is on pace for a third with 13 goals in 47 games this season.
"(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."
FAMILIAR FACE: RW Erik Condra, who played his first five NHL seasons with the Senators, said it was emotional playing against his former team in Ottawa. "You get the giddies a little bit," Condra said.
G Ben Bishop, another former Senator, hoped to start, and has a 8-0-3 career record against Ottawa. But Bishop knowing he'd play tonight in Montreal, understood the Lightning's decision to start Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop is 10-1-3 in his career against the Canadiens.
TRADE WINDS: Blues director of player personnel Rob DiMaio attended another Lightning game; St. Louis is believed to be interested in Drouin. The Stars had two reps listed for the second straight Tampa Bay game.
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LINING UP: D Anton Stralman (flu) played. RW Jonathan Marchessault and D Matt Carle were scratched.