After his hand was injured during a playoff series which resulted in a horrendous collapse for the San Jose Sharks, Logan Couture sees the reminder of what happened every day when he glances down at his surgically repaired wrist. Although still in recovery from the injury, Couture is expected to be ready to play by the start of training camp in September.
To add to the reminder, Couture works out with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, a close friend. Although Doughty doesn’t ever bring it up to Couture, the reminder must be there every time they hit the ice together.
Rather than analyze what the team could have done differently, Couture simply stated,“I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren’t going to go away; probably never. It’s just something that sticks with you for a long time.”
Now Couture must learn to move past the loss last season and let the sadness bring motivation to help build a better team. This may be Couture’s year to lead. With general manager Doug Wilson planning to focus on younger players to lead the team, Couture is expected to be wearing either a ‘C’ or ‘A’ during the 2014-15 campaign. He deserves the role. Not only has be transitioned into a player who helps those even younger than he, but he remains one of the top scorers on the team.
Couture has experience as captain of a team, as he took the role while playing with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. Although Couture says he hasn’t specifically been asked by Wilson to take on a larger role as leader, it seems inevitable in the next couple of years. “I think it’s just expected,” Couture said. “I think each year you play more with an organization you’re expected to take on more of that role. Those are kind of the things that don’t have to be said.”
I believe that either Couture or Joe Pavelski will be wearing the ‘C’ at the start of the season. With the changes being made to the roster and the overall feeling of the franchise, keeping Joe Thornton as captain doesn’t make much sense. Although he does an amazing job, a switch might be further motivation for the team to better their play.
This season will mark the start of a five-year, $30 million dollar contract for Couture. Once healthy enough to play at full capacity, Couture must use the painful memories of last postseason and prove to all watching that the Sharks have what it takes to be a playoff contender yet again.