VOORHEES, N.J. – Coming off the best season of his career, Sean Couturier knows that any injury he suffers is going to make headlines.
But even though hurting his knee in a charity game back in early August caused quite a stir within the local hockey ranks, he indicates Flyers faithful shouldn’t be too concerned.
About halfway through an estimated month-long rehab, Couturier was skating around the Skate Zone ice for the first time virtually pain-free on Monday.
If all continues to go well, he should be ready to see some action by the middle of the eight-game preseason schedule in about two weeks or so.
The Flyers need Couturier going at full speed if they want to get out of the gate quickly, starting with the season opener at Vegas on Oct. 4.
All signs look positive.
“I’m at the point where I’m feeling really good,’’ he said after the workout. “We’ll go from here one day at a time and hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel even better.’’
There was a little bit of concern when the injury first happened during the game up in Quebec.
“I thought I tweaked it,’’ Couturier said. “I kept playing. It really didn’t hurt that much. I came (to Voorhees) to get it checked out just in case something was wrong.
“It was worse than we thought. I think we were cautious, too, didn’t want to force it and take more recovery than usual. Just want to make sure I’m ready to go for the season.’’
So far so good.
“It felt really great today,’’ Couturier said. “I’m skating but they don’t want me to push it either too much. Naturally, you kind of do push it. Because it’s the way I felt. Hopefully tomorrow it responds well.’’
Couturier simply demolished his previous bests for goals, assists and points last season. His career highs, over different seasons, were 15 goals, 28 assists and 39 points.
Last year? That would be 31-45-76 and a finalist for the Frank Selke Trophy for NHL’s best defensive forward.
While the cause for the charity game was noble, this incident did give the 25-year-old center pause. However, he says there was more to it than just a “pick up’’ game.
“It was kind of a freak thing,’’ he said. “First, it was a charity game but it was a high-level tournament (supposedly no-contact) where all the top-level guys from Quebec meet up.
“You play games all weekend to see where we’re at in our summer training. . .to see where we’re at and push each other. It’s part of (offseason) training, so yeah, you’re cautious but at the same time I’m not going to sit on my couch all summer and then show up to camp.’’
The Flyers hope to get another big year from their top line of Couturier, Claude Giroux and possibly Travis Konecny. Konecny’s production really picked up after joining that line last season, notching 20 goals in 41 games with that twosome. He had only four goals in the other 40 games he played