Sean Couturier was asked why it has worked so well in head coach Alain Vigneault’s strategy to use the 26-year-old center as a sparkplug for struggling teammates.
“I don’t know,” Couturier said with a modest laugh to start his answer.
Couturier is reserved and unassuming. His toothless smile seeks more attention than he does, when the do-it-all player has all the right to say look at me.
But that just isn’t him.
So allow Jakub Voracek to tell you what Couturier can do for a player.
“I feel like I have a swagger back,” Voracek said after the Flyers’ 2-1 win Monday night over the Canucks. “If I don’t play with a swagger, I think that’s what was missing. I’ve got the swagger back and kind of that f--- you attitude that I need to have to be successful.”
Not so quiet.
Last Thursday, Vigneault placed Voracek on Couturier’s line with Oskar Lindblom. Over the previous 11 games, Voracek had no goals, four assists and a minus-3 rating. In three games with Couturier, Voracek has two goals, an assist and a plus-3 mark.
Against the Canucks, Voracek notched an assist and scored the game-winner in the third period, while Couturier also registered a multi-point game. He has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) and a plus-8 rating in the Flyers’ last 14 games.
“He’s helping everyone,” Voracek said. “He’s always in the right position, same with Oskar. They are both really easy to read off of. For me to keep a little bit of speed kind of helped me, so I don’t have to stop and start all the time, which is really hard to do for an 82-game season.”
While Couturier is not the ostentatious type, his style of play possesses that f--- you attitude with the opposition. He’s a nightmare to draw in the faceoff circle, he’ll grind you defensively and wear you down offensively.
Canucks star Elias Pettersson was held without a point and shot by the Flyers for just the second time this season. The 21-year-old center came into the Wells Fargo Center with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) over 24 games.
“Coots is one of the best defensive forwards putting up huge offensive numbers," Voracek said. “He knows what to do to make the other top lines miserable.”
And make his teammates happy.
“I’ve got to say that everybody that I’ve played with Coots has played well,” Vigneault said. “I don’t know if that’s Coots or guys getting excited playing with him. Coots is a real solid 200-foot player. You can trust him as a coach in defensive situations. Offensively, again tonight, that line was real effective.”
Couturier doesn’t need to tell anyone. Voracek served as a proper reminder.
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