Logan Couture has been forced to demonstrate his resilience on a number of occasions this season.
Trying to help the San Jose Sharks get back on even terms with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final is just the latest example.
Needing a win in Game 5 to extend the series back to San Jose, Couture delivered a clutch performance with a goal and three points. He wouldn’t be denied, as the Sharks now look to force a decisive seventh game for hockey’s ultimate prize.
“I just … don’t want the season to end. I wish I did it every game, but it’s a tough league to score in, to produce in,” he told reporters. “It’s nice when you’re able to help the team win some games. … We still have a challenge ahead of us.”
A challenge is what this entire season has been for Couture. A narrative come playoff time is about those players that overcome points of adversity in games, a series, the season or at times in their careers, or maybe even beyond that, on and off the ice.
Couture has personified that player driven to overcome the most difficult of times in attempt to win.
He missed 23 games after suffering a broken fibula during practice in October, an injury head coach Pete DeBoer described to reporters as “catastrophic.” No sooner did Couture return, then he was out of the lineup again after it was discovered he had a small arterial bleed in his right thigh.
“I think when he went down, we were 4-0. We had a great start to the season,” said DeBoer.
“We felt guys were slotted in the right spot. It was a catastrophic injury, it really was. There was talk at some points there he might miss up to six months. I think it was a blessing in disguise looking back at it now because it forced me to get to know the organization top to bottom. We tried a lot of young guys in different spots. (Tomas Hertl) played some center. We brought guys in. (Chris Tierney) had a chance to play.”
Couture admitted that second injury — to the same leg as the first injury, although he said the two weren’t related — was “pretty scary.”
“We flew back home and my leg just kept swelling bigger and bigger,” he said.
“So they had to stop the bleeding somehow. They were able to do that fortunately before it got worse. My leg was just continuously filling with blood and it could have gotten to the point where you don’t know what’s going to happen, if you’re going to lose your leg or die. So they caught it pretty quickly, which was good.”
Despite the injuries, Couture has come back and been one of the key reasons — both with production and leadership as an alternate captain, which DeBoer said Couture earned — to the Sharks’ regular season success and subsequent playoff run.
His 29 points leads all players in this post-season.
“It’s nice, but it’s a personal thing,” said Couture. “We’ve got bigger things that we’re looking at.”