VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers purposefully had a banged-up Sean Couturier take only three faceoffs in last Friday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Devils.
Couturier’s workload in the dot then jumped to 10 draws the next night during the Flyers’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.
“I was reprimanded by our medical guys … ‘you told me you weren’t going to do it,’” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said with a laugh Monday following practice.
Couturier is dealing with a shoulder strain and the Flyers want to limit his faceoffs to help the injury improve. The problem is Couturier is a tough dude and one of the NHL’s best in the faceoff circle. The 26-year-old had the second-best faceoff win percentage (57.1) among the NHL's top-20 players in draws taken last season and is at 64.3 percent in 2019-20.
If Travis Konecny gets booted from the faceoff circle, Couturier wants to jump in.
“At the end of the day, it’s the young man,” Vigneault said. “When that situation happens, if T.K. gets kicked out of the faceoff, [Couturier] wants to go.”
Vigneault said the Flyers still have a period of four to seven days in which Couturier shouldn’t be taking draws so the shoulder can heal. The Flyers will at least try to limit Couturier’s number of faceoffs as much as they can.
Couturier almost always wins more than he loses in the circle. He won only four of his 10 last Saturday, but some of the victories were big ones later in the game.
“I’m not really the one that told him to take it, it just happened that way, but I’ll take the blame,” Vigneault said with a smile.
“I will try to be more vigilant as we move forward.”
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