Well, that’s not ideal for the first day of training camp.
The San Jose Sharks announced this afternoon that captain Logan Couture would miss the beginning of camp with a lower-body injury.
“I was trying to skate and ramp up,” Couture said of his off-season training injury. GM Mike Grier didn’t say when Couture suffered the injury, but said he learned that his captain would miss the start of camp “sometime last week.”
Couture called the injury week-to-week. He doesn’t have a timeline, however, as to when he’ll start skating again. And he couldn’t say if he expects to be ready by Oct. 12 opening night.
“Well, week to week, I’ll let you know after this week,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn laughed, when asked if he expected Couture to be ready by opening night. “I’m not being coy. He feels like he will be, but with the injury he’s got, you’re just not sure. So we will go week to week, re-evaluate him after the next four or five days.”
“There’s been improvement,” Couture said. “I feel good.”
That optimism is the good news – along with the good news that Couture and long-time girlfriend Brielle got married and had their first child, Kaden, this past summer.
But the flip side of that optimism? It’s not a given that Couture will be ready by opening night. That’s troubling for a San Jose Sharks squad that’s desperate for a quick start, after a season where they started 0-5-0 and finished with the fourth-worst record in the NHL.
“We had a meeting with the coaching staff and management yesterday, and the big message was our start. We know that, in the room, last year’s start wasn’t good enough,” Couture said.
That’s going to be tough without Couture, who led all Sharks forwards with 67 points last season and was neck-to-neck (19:08 a night) with Tomas Hertl (19:17), in terms of the most playing time up front.
“He’ll be sorely missed if he’s not able to start the season with us,” Quinn acknowledged of his all-situations ace, “but it’ll give an opportunity to somebody else.”
“If he’s not ready for the first week of the season, we’ll deal with it. We won’t rush him back,” Grier said. “Hopefully he’s ready, but if he’s not, I think, especially this year, we’ve got enough depth to handle it with someone like Granlund having the ability to slide into that role.”
That’s Mikael Granlund, acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade, who put up 64 points just two years ago.
Of course, a Couture-Hertl-Granlund 1-2-3 punch up the middle on opening night sounds better than a Hertl-Granlund 1-2.
“I’ll do everything I possibly can,” Couture said. “That’s all I can give you.”
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