Logan Couture

Couture doesn’t think he’ll ever get over blown 3-0 series lead


San Jose forward Logan Couture has had some time to digest the fact that the Sharks were eliminated because they blew a 3-0 series lead in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings. That hasn’t helped.

“It’s still devastating,” Couture told CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Radio. “It doesn’t get any easier. It’s been impossible to watch anymore hockey since we lost.”

He’s someone that badly wants to win and despite all the talent on San Jose’s roster, that hasn’t happened in his five NHL seasons. Every year he watches the last game of the Stanley Cup Final and when he sees the Cup come out, he feels jealous. That’s usually when he turns off the television rather than watch the ceremony.

“Something’s got to change,” Couture said. That might mean that guys get traded, but he feels the Sharks players, including himself, deserve whatever happens after they failed to get the job done.

The one thing that he would add is that the buck should stop with the players.

“I hate when people blame coaching staffs,” Couture said. “I hate when they blame general managers. It’s on the players that go out there and to win hockey games.”

Going forward, he will try to use this setback as motivation and he remains optimistic that the team will emerge stronger. Meanwhile, he plans to work on his personal strength, particularly when it comes to the wrist that he injured.

He missed 16 contests before returning on Feb. 27, but he admitted that he returned early and is still sore. He’ll rest the wrist for now, but he plans to strengthen that area over the summer and add a few pounds in general.

He doesn’t think he’ll ever get over how this year ended, although he might change his mind if he finally gets to be with the Cup instead of just seeing it on TV.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.