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Sharks C Couture takes being picked last in stride @NHLdotcom

GATINEAU, Quebec (AP) - A few text messages from San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton helped Logan Couture avoid feeling unwanted when he was the last man standing in the NHL All-Star draft.

"Oh yeah, Jumbo is all over me. He loves it," Couture said with a smile, while noting he also got a few texts from the Sharks training staff on Thursday night. "They're pretty happy for me."

Even Couture's family and friends got in the act, wondering what he was going to do with his consolation prize - a new car.

"I had fun with it. You can't take it personally," said the third-year player, who is competing in his first All-Star game. It happens to be in Ottawa where Couture played junior hockey.

"You can't take that personally," said Couture, who will also have $20,000 donated to a charity of his choice. "Being a young guy here for the first time, playing on the west coast, it was something I knew was a possibility. I just wanted to have a good time with it, and I did."

Couture became the draft's Mr. Irrelevant when he was the 38th and final player taken in the draft that set the teams for this weekend's All-Star festivities. That left him relegated to Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson's team after opposing All-Star captain, Boston's Zdeno Chara, took Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn with his final pick.

Chara went with Benn, crediting him for playing in Sunday's All-Star game despite missing the past five games following an appendectomy.

Benn would have been fine if he was picked last.

"I don't think it matters. Just getting the chance to be in an All-Star game is a pretty good honor," Benn said. "And for Zdeno to throw a shout-out there was really nice of him."

Others credited Couture for how he handled being left until the end.

"I thought he did great," Ottawa forward Jason Spezza said. "Being a younger guy probably hurt him, even when it comes to something like that.  But anybody that's here is happy to be here. And he handled it with class. Top notch all the way."

Couture is the only Sharks player competing this weekend, and 36 points (21 goals, 15 assists) put him in a tie for 52nd in the NHL. He is coming off his first full NHL season in which he made the league's All-Rookie team after posting 32 goals and 24 assists.

Couture said he didn't recall ever being picked last for anything. Having it happen for the first time among a group of All-Stars is something he can easily accept.

"If it was a different setting, playing games back when I was younger, I would've taken it a little more personally," Couture said. "But right now, I just had a good time with it."

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