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Couture Squares Off With Peers

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
Fans watching in person at HP Pavilion or following on CSN California or 98.5 KFOX will be entertained Tuesday night by three of the NHL’s top four rookie scorers when San Jose squares off with Edmonton.


San Jose’s Logan Couture leads all rookies in points (24) and goals (17). Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle is third in points (9-13=22) and the Oilers Taylor Hall is fourth (10-9=19).

The talented kids have met twice this year, with Couture winning the team side of the battle.

“We’ve played these guys twice already, it’s their first time coming to San Jose,” Couture said. “It’s another game. Edmonton has been playing well lately and I think we’re turning the corner as well. It’s a big game for both teams.”

Couture doesn’t really know his early rivals for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.

“Not very well, just from playing against them,” Couture said. “I think I went to a World Jr. camp with Eberle.”

Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan sees talents in all three players.

“Taylor Hall is a complete dynamic player,” McLellan stated. “He’s got some very good speed and I think he has that Crosby like ability to lower his center of gravity and protect pucks and keep his speed through traffic.

“Jordan is a guy that the puck seems to be around all the time and he feels very comfortable with the puck. There are some players that repel it at times, he is like a magnet and attracts pucks.”

McLellan is happy with the player he has though.

“I think Couture has both those qualities,” McLellan pointed out. “He works to protect the puck all the time and has a low center of gravity. He is able to play in traffic. He’s figured out there is a special spot to go on the ice to score goals. Three or four if his last goals he hasn’t even shot into the net.”

Dany Heatley knows a thing or two about the media attention that comes with being a first round pick when the production ramps up as he took home the Calder Trophy in 2002.

“It’s fun. The biggest thing is getting to the NHL and to do so well your first year is pretty special,” Heatley said. “I look at our young guys, Couture in particular, is having a great year and it’s awesome to see.”

Where the young Edmonton stars have the franchise’s hopes on their shoulders, Couture is allowed to be a little less noticed with the star qualities on the Sharks roster.

“I learn a lot from those guys (Heatley, Thornton and Marleau) day in and day out,” Couture said. “They are very approachable and easy to talk to. They come in and work hard and there is not much more you can ask for from superstars in this league.”

FIRST OFF
Antero Niittymaki was the first netminder off the ice at the morning skate, the usual tip for who will start.

KEEP IT GOING
San Jose has won both games against the Oilers this year and has taken eight of nine overall in the series, including three straight over the Oilers at the HP Pavilion.

NEXT GAME
The Sharks will host Edmonton Tuesday at 7:30 and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.




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