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Lightning's Drouin uncertain again about Game 4

by Arpon Basu

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Jonathan Drouin was told he would be in warmups and a decision on his playing status would be made prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Prior to Game 3 on Monday, Drouin did a pregame interview in French with TVA Sports during the warmups prior and said he believed he was playing. After warmups, Drouin was told he would not play.

Because he was asked to do the interview, Drouin said he assumed he was playing because scratched players are rarely asked to do interviews.

"I'm not the guy going looking for interviews," Drouin said. "Someone told me to go do an interview in the warmup and I did. It just happened."

Drouin said he has no problem with the fact he has not been a regular in the Lightning lineup. He played in Game 2 of this series, his fourth game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and his first since Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Second Round on May 7.

"This is my first year in the playoffs and this is not how I envisioned it, but I'm not the one making the decisions," Drouin said. "Since the start of the year and the start of the playoffs, I've had to carve out a place for myself and force him to put me in."

"Him" is Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who has favored using seven defensemen and 11 forwards in the lineup, with Drouin's spot being the one that goes empty. There have been rumors of a rift between player and coach, but Drouin said that is not the case.

"It's good," Drouin said of the relationship. "You don't see him around the room that often, that much. He's easy to talk to when you want advice or he wants to tell you something. So far, so good."

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