By Mike Olson
At the beginning of the NHL season every organization has the same mentality. Get wins, build chemistry and most importantly, stay healthy. Unfortunately for the San Jose Sharks, they will have to go through some adversity early in the season.
The Sharks came out of the gates flying under a new head coach in Peter DeBoer, and posted impressive wins against strong teams, beating the LA Kings 5-1, the Anaheim Ducks 2-0, and the Washington Capitals 5-0. In sports though it always seems that the good comes with the bad, and that statement came true.
During practice on Thursday October 15th in New Jersey, Logan Couture went down with an apparent leg injury and was later seen walking on crutches. The Sharks announced on October 16th that the talented second line center would be out for at least 4-6 weeks.
Couture was drafted by the Sharks in 2007. He has played 379 games, scored 139 goals and 288 points. He is also a key player in the playoff hopes of the Bay Area, playing 56 games and posting up 18 goals and assists in his postseason career. He is the all-time NHL leader for rookie game winning goals with 7, all on the road, and that same year he broke the Sharks record for rookie goals with 32. He is also the only player in Shark’s history to score 30 goals in each of his first two seasons.
The good thing about hockey is there are 82 games, and more than half of the league’s 30 teams can qualify for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how you play during the regular season, it only matters how you play during the playoffs. Is this an injury that will affect the Sharks playoff hopes? Absolutely not. However, they will have to adjust to not having one of their better players on the ice. But as we saw last season with the loss of Patrick Kane for 21 regular season games, the Blackhawks still won the NHL championship, showing that Lord Stanley’s cup can be paraded by team missing their star during the playoffs as long as they are back in time to grow that playoff beard.
And the Sharks have always been a good team during the regular season, as shown by their winning record each of the last 11 seasons, but can’t seem to get over the “hump” and bring Lord Stanley to the Bay Area. But if they can get Couture back and continue to win, this could be a team that flies under the radar and potentially make a deep run in the playoffs.
And I for one am wishing him a speedy recovery as Couture is a fun player to watch.