Couture out with fractured ankle; Crosby nearing return

Vince Dunn #29 of the St. Louis Blues checks Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks
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The San Jose Sharks will be without the services of captain Logan Couture for at least six weeks.

During a Wednesday appearance on NBCSN, NHL Insider Bob McKenzie reported that Couture suffered a fractured ankle in the second period of the Sharks’ game against the Blues Tuesday. (UPDATE: The Sharks confirmed the report on Thursday.)

Couture currently leads San Jose with 36 points this season.

The Sharks are in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in the previous 16 seasons and have already fired their coach in December.

Crosby getting close

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been skating on his own and is close to returning to action according to McKenzie.

“Maybe within the next week but nobody is putting a hard date on it,” McKenzie said.

“Problem is the Penguins’ schedule,” McKenzie continued. “Getting a contact practice has been problematic for Crosby. He needs to do that before coming back to the lineup.”

Jake Guentzel’s long-term injury was not a positive for the Penguins but GM Jim Rutherford will now have a little extra salary cap space to work with as the trade deadline approaches.

“He likes to make moves and he likes to make moves early,” McKenzie said of Rutherford. “He is swinging for the fences. This is not somebody who wants to hit singles, he wants to add as many major pieces as he possibly can. … Anything is on the table.”

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

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