At the NHL’s annual All-Star weekend, the players will be divided in to the teams via a draft the players themselves will conduct. For the skills portion, some hand-selected rookies will also participate and Logan Couture
has been tabbed from San Jose.
came up to me and said congrats and I said ‘For what?’” Couture said of how he was informed of his inclusion. “So he told me. It’s an honor. There are a lot of great rookies in the league this year, so to be a part of that will be fun.”
The Honda NHL SuperSkills® competition includes six events, including the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater; the BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge, where NHL All-Stars put their best goal scoring moves and skills to the test; the McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting; the XM NHL Hardest Shot; the Discover NHL Elimination Shootout; and the all-new G-Series NHL Challenge Relay, an all-around competition that will showcase the one-timer, passing, puck control, stick-handling and accuracy shooting.
Having popped in 19 goals, Couture is hoping to be part of the accuracy shooting.
“I’ve done a couple of things over the years,” Couture said. “I’ve done shooting, puck handling, which I wasn’t too good at, and the hardest shot.
In the hardest shot event Couture did fine, but did not record the fastest time.
“I think somewhere in the high 80s or low 90s,” Couture believed. “Low 90s sounds better.”
Back in his native Ontario as a youth, Couture won what amounted to provincial honors in a skills competition. He triumphed in the local Lucan area event, and then moved on to the regional portion for the towns around Lucan. Then it was on to Toronto.
“We did some target shooting, backward skating, I was about 10 years old and I still have that trophy in my room,” Couture said. “It’s a big Leafs thing, but the Leafs were not my team growing up. A great trophy, probably my best trophy, but I didn’t like the leaf that was on it.”
Even though he was on the Canadian side of the border, San Jose’s stellar rookie was a major Buffalo Sabres fan. Couture won the event by connecting on all four of his crunch time shots. By taking the title, Couture had a special privilege for the rest of that night.
“The Leafs did their skills competition (later) and the winner got to sit on the Leafs bench,” Couture recalled about his first visit to the Air Canada Center. “I think I sat there close to Curtis Joseph and Sergei Berezin. Mats Sundin was on the other team, not my team. It is definitely something I remember.”
Devin Setoguchi once represented the Sharks in an All-Star weekend event for young NHL talent and fondly remembers the time in Montreal.
“For me, I was dressing in the eastern lockerroom, so I didn’t really know anybody at all,” Setoguchi recalled. “It was a good experience to meet some of the guys around the league and get to know some of the top guys.”
Couture may not play in the actual game, but if he puts together a few more seasons like he is having, it will only be a matter of time.
is a very exciting young player,” McLellan said. “Without him right now, we would be in a little more trouble than we are. He’s been a tremendous asset and a catalyst for our team. He is very deserving.”
Couture said he would reach out to his family before taking his afternoon nap.
“I haven’t even talked to them since I only heard about it 10 minutes before we went on the ice,” Couture said. “I’ll give them a call after I leave here.”
Couture may be in some nice All-Star company, but he knows his friends in Ontario could be cheering against him Tuesday when the Sharks host Toronto.
“A bunch of my buddies back home are Leafs fans,” Couture said. “They’ve been giving it to me that the Leafs have been hot and we haven’t. They’ll tell me they’ll be cheering for me secretly, but they’ll probably be cheering for the Leafs. It’s a big game so I’m excited.”
BRAUN BACKJustin Braun
has been recalled from Worcester in time for the Toronto contest.
“There is a chance we could do that (dress 7 D),” McLellan said. “We have Justin Braun
Former Sharks bench leader Ron Wilson is on the bench for Toronto going for his 600th win. Current Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan provided some compliments for his opposition Tuesday.
“I think that’s a true reflection on what a good coach Ron is,” McLellan said. “Coming in here and following him, he set a foundation up for us that was very strong. I think that is a true reflection on his longevity and skill to be going for 600. It’s a feather in his hat. There are a number of senior coaches in the league that have paved the way for us younger guys and I would include him in that category.”
The Sharks will host Toronto at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at HP Pavilion and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.