When it comes to his play on the penalty kill, Flyers rookie Sean Couturier reminds CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio of one of the best in the business.
That would be Philadelphia’s’ former captain, Mike Richards.
Panaccio notes the more Couturier does on the penalty kill — he leads the Flyers in shorthanded goals and is second among forwards in PK minutes — the more he looks like Richards, who scored 23 shorthanded goals during his time in Philadelphia and led the NHL in 2008-09 with seven.
Couturier’s shorthanded play has caught the eye of head coach Peter Laviolette, who also coached Richards.
“What Mike was good at was anticipating,” Laviolette said. “He would anticipate passes out high and get a bead on something. He would see the play before it happens. Sean thinks like that. Positionally, Sean does a good job of making sure he is on the right side of things defensive.
“Sean is a smart player, who plays an honest game and will get some chances because of it … He knows what he is doing because he thinks the game. He’s a really smart player.”
Now as the title of this post suggests, being compared to Richards isn’t always a positive. Richards’ time in Philadelphia was marked by highs (captaining the team to its first Stanley Cup Finals in 13 years) and lows (his ongoing feud with the media, the Dry Island thing) with the lows eventually winning out as he was shipped to Los Angeles for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
That said, Couturier claims he hasn’t specifically modeled his game after Richards.
“I’ve watched [Richards] on TV the past couple of years, but haven’t done any video [study],” Couturier said. “[It’s about] playing solid defense and taking pride defending our end and getting pucks out.
“After that, if there is an opportunity, I’ll take it.”