Sharks

Sharks spotlight: Logan Couture

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Sharks spotlight: Logan Couture

Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Shark spotlight -- the series
Sharks spotlight: Logan CoutureAge: 23 CIn his second full season with the Sharks, Logan Couture had31 goals and 34 assists for 65 points and 16 penalty minutes in 80 games. Hewas tied for first on the team in goals and tied for second in scoring. Coutureadded a goal and three assists in five playoff games. Hes signed through2013-14.Kurz says: A Calder Trophy finalist last season, the weightof repeating his impressive rookie season weighed on Couture early, andit took him six games to register his first goal. He quickly settled in afterthat, and was arguably the Sharks best player through the first half, whichresulted in an All-Star selection (and now infamous last pick in the leaguesfantasy draft)
Post All-Star break, though, was a different story.Coutures struggles down the stretch were evident as the team struggled tomaintain its playoff position, and the center had just four goals in the last19 games after the trade deadline. Although he denied it in March, health wasalmost certainly the primary reason for the decline. Couture missed two gameson Feb. 28 and March 1 with a lower body injury as a result of some hard hitsin a game in Minnesota, and it was later revealed he was playing through alingering shoulder injury that dated back to 2010. He had surgery after theseason.SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: Couture had a much tougher assignment inhis second full season, than his first.Not just the pressure of repeating a 30 goal 50 point rookiecampaign, but doing so with a much greater target on his back. Other teams clearly took more notice ofLogan, watched more tape of Logan, and put more sticks and bodies on the Caldercandidate of a season ago. (See Feb 26thvs. Minnesota as a prime example). Whichmakes it all the more impressive that he broke the 30 goal plateau again, whileupping his assist total by 10. Thatscalled responding to the pressure.If Coutures career were a house, he would have thefoundation and most of the framework already in place. Whether hes got 16 points in 12 games (Jan21-Feb 16), or he hasnt scored in 10 games (Mar 15 Mar 31), Logan brings acertain consistency to his game every night.Hes a playmaker, a good skater, and always seems to be ahead of theplay.From my rinkside position, one of the best perspectives isthe ability to watch the faces of players.Logans eyes are an impressive study, especially when hes coming intothe offensive zone; its like hes got the experience of a 10 year NHL vet, andthat hes just executing a plan he might have crafted 2 shifts prior. 2012-13 expectationsKurz says: Couture is expected to be fully healthy at thestart of next season, and will obviously be counted on to be a key part of theoffense. Theres little doubt that hes one of the cornerstones of thefranchise, and a possible future team captain. Thats why general manager DougWilson reportedly made him a non-starter in any talks regarding Rick Nash, andits hard to imagine any situation in which Wilson would change his mind inthat regard.No one except Couture himself knows just how much thatshoulder injury and various other bumps and bruises held him back, and welllikely never know, as he isnt one to make any sort of excuse for a lack ofproduction. If he stays healthy next season, the 23-year-old could easily findhimself among the leagues premier goal scorers.RELATED: Coutures stats splits game logs
Brodie says: Loganhad surgery on his left shoulder just a few days after the season ended. I caught up with him 2 weeks later, where the(minimal) scar was already healing and the recovery process was underway. It was Coutures first time under the knife,and went routinely. He stuck around SanJose to make sure all was well with the procedure, before heading back toOntario for the summer. Bottom line: noreason to expect 39 wont be rip-roaring ready to go, come training camp.It is stating the obvious to say that Couture does well witha healthy Ryane Clowe on his side. Notonly does the burly winger offer a certain level of protection, he also is ableto work the walls, and frequently find Couture in the scoring area. Having at least one linemate of this skillset would seem to set Logan up for the most success in the near future. In a summer where the Sharks ownership has used the wordchange, and the teams coaching staff are likely to implement significantalterations, there is one thing nobody wants to be any different and that isLogan Couture.
Up next: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

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AP

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture credited a teammate for scoring his second goal. He took credit for the first one.

Couture scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks extended their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who have won the past 11 home games against the Canadiens, a streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999.

On a power play late in the third period, rookie Tim Heed took a shot off a face-off that bounced free in front of the net. Pavelski couldn't get his stick on it but managed to kick it across the net for Couture, who found a huge opening.

"That was pretty special," Couture said. "I don't know if he knew I was there but he kept his balance and kicked it over."

Couture opened the scoring 3:30 into the first period, grabbing a rebound off the back board, skating across the front of the net to get Price to commit and then firing into an open net.

Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, who are winless since an opening night victory at the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals," Canadiens' Max Pacioretty said. "It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now."

Martin Jones stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Sharks, who finish their season-opening homestand with a 2-3 record.

"The biggest thing is finding that energy for the whole game," Jones said. "We started OK and then we got better as the night went on."

Carey Price, who stopped 31 of 35 shots, fell to 2-7-1 in 10 games against the Sharks.

The Canadiens responded 36 seconds later when Drouin picked up a pass from Artturi Lehkonen close in and fired it over Jones' left shoulder and into the net.

Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead for good when he redirected Kevin Labanc's shot just under a minute into the second period. The shot hit Weber's left shin pad and bounced into the net.

"There were a lot of good things out there," Pavelski said. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted but we can leave on a positive note to take on the road."

Hertl padded the lead midway through the second on a power play. Standing on the right side of the net, he was trying to control a pass from Joe Thornton but the puck fluttered off his stick and got behind Price.

"I'll take it any way I can get it," Hertl said. "There are times I've had great shots that just bounced off the post."

Weber's power-play goal two minutes later kicked off Jones' skates for the score.

The Sharks needed five seconds to score on a power play late in the second period. Tim Heed shot on goal and it bounced off Pavelski's skate. Couture picked it up and found a huge opening.

NOTES: After allowing three power play goals over their first five penalty kills, the Sharks killed off 14 straight until Weber scored in the second period. ... Couture recorded his 24th career multi-goal game. ... Sharks D Tim Heed recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Couture's power-play goal. ... Brendan Gallagher needs one assist for 100 with the Canadiens.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday in their second back-to-back of the season.

Sharks: open a five-game road trip on the east coast with a game at the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

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AP

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

The San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens could not be more different in terms of tradition. But, on the ice this season, they couldn’t be more similar.

Both teams have placed their faith in a goalie that wears #31. The top defensemen on each team, Brent Burns and Shea Weber, are 32 and signed until 2025 and 2026, respectively. Tomas Hertl and Alex Galchenyuk are 2012 first round picks playing on the wing after being drafted as centers. Tomas Plekanec and Joe Thornton are favorites on the wrong side of 30, who may head elsewhere next summer.  Heck, both teams miss defenseman David Schlemko, who San Jose lost in the expansion draft and was eventually traded to Montreal, where he hasn’t yet played due to injury.

And both have struggled mightily so far. San Jose and Montreal have combined to win just two games, and sit 29th and 30th, respectively, in goals scored this season. It’s hard to imagine the Sharks and Canadiens scoring so little with all of that talent, but they can’t bank on good fortune, either.

Something’s got to give when the two face off at SAP Center tonight. After tonight, one team will feel much better about themselves, and the other team will be much closer to hitting the panic button.

That’s where the critical difference lies: Montreal’s already hit it, and San Jose probably won’t.

Last season, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien in February. Seven months after essentially siding with Therrien and trading star defenseman P.K. Subban, Bergevin ended Therrien’s time in Montreal, too. He surely can’t fire another coach, but a Galchenyuk trade is reportedly a possibility, according to TSN.

The Sharks, on the other hand, likely won’t do any of that. Even with the burden of high expectations in his tenure, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s never traded away a star player or fired a coach midseason. Even though Vegas pegs Peter DeBoer as the odds-on favorite to lose his job, it’s hard to envision Wilson making a change behind the bench during the year. He didn’t in 2015 when Todd McLellan seemed to lose the room, so why would he now?

Patience is what truly separates the Sharks and Canadiens, and that difference will likely determine how each front office reacts if their teams continue to struggle. Wilson’s shown a willingness to swing for the fences under these circumstances. He acquired Joe Thornton in 2005, after all.

But if you’re waiting on Wilson to take a page out of Bergevin’s book and fire the coach or trade away a key piece approaching their prime? Don’t hold your breath.