The narrative that's taken hold a bit on Sunday morning is Jonathan Drouin's 3rd period benching by head coach Jon Cooper during the Lightning's 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. That fact is highlighted in Joe Smith's write-up, but there's an aside fact that slipped into the piece. A blink-and-you-miss-it section that seems like the bigger fact of last night (and the previous two loss to the Dallas Stars - I won't lump the Detroit loss in this point).
He and Stamkos were split up late in the second period. Then again, so was the entire forward group, including the touted Triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov.
Watching the game itself last night, it was hard not to get frustrated, like you probably had during the Dallas game: Talent, dynamics, and everything hitting a bland stand-still. They were stuck and too comfortable. I can't imagine the players were actually satisified by it, but the team was lost by way of it.
Any issues Cooper takes with Jonathan Drouin that led to his benching last night is a byproduct of the club getting lost in comfort. Those who jump to defend Drouin can argue the same about Cooper - he's too comfortable and habits can reign. Overplaying Ben Bishop and showing lack of confidence in backup goalies is one of them, while expecting something from Drouin that the kid is not providing is another. Neither Cooper nor Drouin are infallible characters, but Cooper is in charge and has brought results from the roster in his time as head coach. The players, be it Drouin or Stamkos or Johnson or Palat or Kucherov or Callahan or Killorn or etc, have shown us what they are capable of doing as well. Finding a rallying point and building off it may be the best way of finding a new norm... That or accepting Saturday's lineup shuffle as an anomaly, with the line standards to resume in Nashville against the Predators on Tuesday.