LOS ANGELES -- San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture has heard about how he's supposed to take on a bigger role in the dressing room this season, and about how it's time for him to start filling the shoes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau as the Sharks transition their leadership responsibilities to their younger core players.
Couture understands all that and appreciates it, but he also sees one problem with it.
"Those guys are still around and they're still leaders on our team," Couture said of Thornton and Marleau during a phone interview Monday. "Both of those guys are looked up to by a lot of players in the dressing room and they mean a lot to the organization and to the guys in the dressing room."
That Couture said that can be taken as a sign that the Sharks either don't believe Thornton should have had the captaincy taken away from him after last season's collapse against the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or that it doesn't matter to them who wears the 'C', if anybody does at all.
The latter seems more plausible for Couture and his teammates to believe in public. If they believe differently in private, Couture isn't saying.
"We believe what we believe in our dressing room and we go from there," he said.
Couture is not naïve. He knows that he's 25 years old it's time for him to step into a bigger role and to have a bigger voice in the dressing room. But forgive him if he doesn't want to step on anybody's toes.
Old habits are hard to break, after all.
"I'm going to do the same things I've done in the past," he said. "I believe I am one of the leaders on the team and some players look up to me. I'm going to do what I can to help our team win every night, but the San Jose Sharks don't come down to one or two guys. That's something that I think that message got delivered the wrong way this summer, where it came up that people were blaming Jumbo [Thornton] and Patty for the loss [to the Kings]. It doesn't happen like that. It's a team game and you need the whole team going to be successful. You can't just blame one or two guys. Going forward we'll win as a team and we'll lose as a team. We have leaders that have gone through a lot and can handle the adversity. Hopefully we're going to grow from what happened in the past."