VANCOUVER For a moment, it appeared that disaster had struck the San Jose Sharks.
When Logan Couture blocked a Keith Ballard wrist shot in the first period with his knee, the 22-year-old sniper was having trouble putting any weight on his right side. He struggled to make it to the bench, and was eventually helped to the locker room.
It didnt look good.
The organization breathed a sigh of relief when Coutures absence was just temporary, though, as he returned just a few minutes later.
It wasnt even a hard shot. It just got me in a tough spot, said Couture, after the game. It went numb for a minute and a half or two minutes, and I was fine. Just a stinger.
I tried to get up and went in a circle because I couldnt put any weight on my other leg. As soon as I got into the dressing room and sat down, the feeling came back and I felt fine.
Chances are the Sharks fans watching at home were more concerned than Todd McLellan. At least, thats the picture the coach painted after the game.
We knew it was a blocked shot. When a guy ends up getting twisted up or tangled with somebody you dont know if its a knee or an ankle or anything like that, but we knew it was a blocked shot, McLellan said. Usually that gets you in a bad spot, and you can come back and play.
Hes a very, very important guy on our team and we were glad he could make it back.
Important is an understatement. Couture has eight points in his last eight games, including an assist on Monday in Vancouver, and leads the team with 16 goals. Hes been the teams most consistent forward since the middle of October, and he may be the Sharks most indispensable player.
Coutures block was one of 24 on the night for San Jose, as opposed to just seven for the Canucks.
Youve got to block shots. Everybodys doing it, he said. You have to make it tough for pucks to get through to the goalie, and thats something weve gotten better at is helping Antti Niemi out.
Couture was seen in the locker room with an ice pack on the knee after the game, but the win over the team that eliminated the Sharks from the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring helped to dull the pain.
It feels great, actually, Couture said. Its just a little swollen. It will be fine tomorrow.