Tonight, the San Jose Sharks stare down the Los Angeles Kings in a “Who will blink first?” contest in game 7 of their NHL Stanley Cup playoffs series.
I’ll be up front and honest: I want LA to win this series. Having said that, I certainly won’t be too disappointed if the Sharks move on to the Western Conference Finals, because that just means I’ll have more time to watch the subject of today’s entry in my Wish List series play more hockey.
Logan Couture, Center
Back when the shortened regular season opened, I was very vocal about the Buffalo Sabres’ lack of quality scoring lines. Perhaps the biggest reason I felt the Sabres would struggle to score beyond the first line was their shallowness at the center position, so I wrote some pieces detailing this area of weakness and threw out some names of players I would have liked the Sabres to puruse. Logan Couture was one of those names, and that was before he led the Sharks in goals this season (21) and was second on their team for total points (37). My respect for Couture has only grown now that he has had a bit of a coming-out party during these playoffs, since his 5 goals and 6 assists put him squarely in the top ten NHL players enjoying any sort of postseason.
And then, of course, you have this shining moment which caused his stock to go through the roof:
That goal gave the Sharks a win in game 3 of their current series against the Kings, saving them from going down 0-3 against the defending champs. That’s impressive enough – but you also have to remember that Couture actually left game 3 with an injury, only to return and provide his team with both an emotional boost and an overtime victory. That’s straight out of the storybooks, folks, and it shows you how much this guy loves to compete.
Couture is still young, and is not a complete two-way center the way his teammate Joe Thornton is. I don’t know if he will ever become as intimidating physically as Thornton is, but his hit on Dustin Brown in game 4 would suggest that he isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body when the time is right, and his return from game 3’s injury speaks volume about his determination. Most importantly, Sabres’ fans: kid can score. That’s good enough to make me want him on our Buffalo Sabres.