Couturier a rare scratch for Toronto game

Sean Couturier

      PHILADELPHIA – Even the best can have a rainy day.

      For the Flyers’ Sean Couturier, the heavens opened on Tuesday when he was informed he would be a healthy scratch for unofficially the first time in his 13-year NHL career.

      One could read the tea leaves about this move when the Flyers captain played only 11-plus minutes in Saturday night’s 6-5 loss at Boston.

      On Monday, the 31-year-old Couturier told the media it was tough sitting on the bench for long stretches of that game.

      A day later, Couturier found himself not listed in the lineup for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his 785-game career with Philadelphia, Couturier reportedly had never been scratched when he was able to play.

      At Tuesday morning’s skate at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J., Couturier sounded resigned to accepting his fate without a whole lot of resistance.

      “Like I said (Monday), I control what I can control,” he said. “It is what it is. Got to move on.”

      Couturier confirmed he had spoken with coach John Tortorella but there really wasn’t much to say. He hasn’t scored since Feb. 10 against Seattle, a 15-game drought.

      “Honestly, it doesn’t matter what I think,” Couturier said. “Got to leave my ego aside, I guess, and hopefully he finds a way to get a win here tonight and I can get back in, too.”

      For the season, Couturier has posted 11 goals/36 points with a minus-6. Those are far below his career numbers and trying to write that off as simply a byproduct of two back operations over the past two years doesn’t do the whole situation justice.

      “I’ve been putting in the work for awhile, trying to work on my game,” he said. “I’m definitely frustrated with the way I’ve been treated lately.”

      Couturier was asked if Tortorella had pointed out what areas of his game he needed to improve upon.

      “I’ve gotten the same answers you (the media) have. . .just needed to see more,” Couturier said. “I’m still looking to find what that is. I’m trying every game, it’s not like I’m sitting around doin’ nothing.

      “Like I said yesterday, I felt the last couple games with the limited ice time and opportunities I’ve been getting, I’ve been doing all right. But I guess we’re going with the best lineup available tonight to get a win.”

      Tortorella did not address the media at the morning skate and assistant coach Rocky Thompson, who filled in for Tortorella at the meeting with writers, spoke before the skate and was not questioned about the matter.

      >Poehling’s take on short lapses

       One negative which had plagued the Flyers of late seem to be brief lapses of concentration.

      For example, take the Boston game. The teams were tied, 2-2, at the start of the third period.

      Then the Flyers sort of fell asleep and allowed the Bruins to score three goals in the first four minutes of the period, including two of the markers just eight seconds apart.

      “Other than four or five minutes when they took it to us – that’s the biggest lesson at this time of year,” Ryan Poehling said. “Against good hockey teams you can’t fall asleep for any length of time. You have to play a full 60 minutes.

      “If we can do that, the way we did in Boston, for the rest of the game, we’ll like the results.”

      >Watching the scoreboard

      With the Flyers in the tightest of playoff races, it’s difficult for them not to occasionally check the out-of-town scoreboard to see how their closest pursuers are doing.

      Starting play Tuesday night, Washington (75 points) had moved within one point of the Flyers (76 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division (the Caps were idle). Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Division, Tampa Bay (78) and Detroit (74) were most decidedly in the wild card mix.

      “I’d be lying if I said it’s easy to not look,” Poehling said. “At the end of the day, too, you can’t get too involved with it. For us, the biggest thing is just doing what we can – we still control our own destiny. That’s the biggest thing looking forward.”

      >Ristolainen, Drysdale skate

      Both injured defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Jamie Drysdale  skated on their own Tuesday morning. No official word on where they’re at in terms of their recovery or when they might play again.

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About Wayne Fish 2472 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.