Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Jonathan Drouin saying, as he did Tuesday according to the Tampa Bay Times, that he hopes to be ready to play in the season-opener next week isn't enough to convince coach Jon Cooper that he should rush him into action.
Drouin hasn't played in the preseason because of a fractured right thumb. The Lightning open the season Oct. 9 against the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena.
"He hasn't even started practicing with us yet," Cooper said in a phone interview Wednesday. "He skates around, but he can't touch pucks. We're about a week away from opening night. Do the math in that respect. He may be ready but I just don't know if he'll be game-ready to play."
Cooper said he hasn't seen enough of Drouin competing against NHL players yet. He has to see that before he puts Drouin in the lineup.