PITTSBURGH – There was an unexpected but welcome sight on the ice at Consol Energy Center on Saturday, when injured Sharks forward Logan Couture skated in full gear for the first time since undergoing surgery on a fractured fibula on Oct. 17.
The Sharks center didn’t do a whole lot, only going out on the ice after most of his teammates had finished the morning skate in preparation for the upcoming game against the Penguins, but it was at least an indication that he’s progressing.
“That was the first day of skating pretty good, just doing some conditioning,” Couture said. “It’s cliché, but it’s day-by-day. [If] it reacts well we go a step further. I couldn’t tell you what the plan is for tomorrow yet.”
Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott said: “It’s a real positive for us. It’s nice to see him back on skates and it’s nice to see he’s got his gear back on. He’s taking part in meetings now with the team, and hopefully it’s sooner than later. It’s definitely a nice shot of adrenaline for us.”
Couture took a few brief spins on the ice in Philadelphia on Thursday in sweats.
“I was out there for like a couple seconds, just to see how it felt,” he said. “Today was the first day where we did a bit more.”
The skate on Saturday wasn’t overly intense, as Couture didn’t do any stopping and starting.
“Right now he’s basically pleasure skating and getting some weight back on it,” Spott said.
Prior to the start of the trip, head coach Pete DeBoer, who will miss Saturday’s game due to personal reasons, said that Couture wouldn’t skate before it was over. The Sharks wrap up on Sunday in Columbus before flying back to the Bay Area.
Couture apparently never got that memo.
“I’m not sure if he said that or not. I’m basically going by what our doctors and what [trainer Ray Tufts] feel like I should do. I didn’t plan this whole trip in advance. Like I said, it’s kind of a day-by-day thing how it reacts and we move forward.”
Named an alternate captain just before the season, Couture was hurt in a freak accident in practice at the Prudential Center in Newark on Oct. 15. The Sharks announced two days later after his surgery that the timeframe for his return would be 4-to-6 weeks. Saturday marks five weeks since the repair.