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Lightning forward Drouin hoping for chance in Final

by Arpon Basu

TAMPA -- Jonathan Drouin is so accustomed to hearing the question at this point, the Tampa Bay Lightning rookie has the answer down pat.

Throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Drouin a healthy scratch for all but three games, the forward has been asked what the experience has been like, how he is keeping up morale, and whether it is frustrating for the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft to sit and watch his teammates pursue the Cup without him.

Now that the Lightning have reached the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, with Game 1 of the best-of-7 series at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), there was no reason for those questions to stop, and Drouin has perfected the answer.

Jonathan Drouin
Left Wing - TBL
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 4 | +/-: -4
"Yeah, pretty much," Drouin said with a laugh Tuesday at Media Day. "It's really tight now."

Drouin repeated what he's said all along: It is difficult to sit and watch, but he's not about to start complaining with the Lightning winning.

"It's obviously not easy when you're not playing and you're not getting a chance, but there's only two teams left playing for the Stanley Cup. There's not too many people who can say that," Drouin said. "'A lot of people in my position would be very happy. So I'm happy to be here and I can't wait for it to start."

Drouin, who played 70 regular-season games, said he sees that happiness as his primary role on the Lightning right now, and he is holding out hope he will get an opportunity to experience the intensity of the Final first hand.

"You can't be in a bad mood," the 20-year-old said. "When guys are scratched you can see in their faces that they're not happy, but there's two teams left, so I'm happy and smiling. It's my job to come here and be happy and help my team. But I still hope I'll get a chance and play a game here."

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