SAN JOSE – Logan Couture set his alarm for the 4 a.m. local start time to watch Team Canada go for the gold on Sunday morning.
He didn’t express any resentment over having to watch from home, rather than being on the ice in Sochi, after he was considered by many at one point to be a lock to make the Olympic roster.
“I set the alarm for 4:00, watched the first and second [periods], and figured it was over. I think Sweden was a little outmatched,” Couture said of Canada’s 3-0 victory, clinching its second straight gold medal.
“Like I said when it happened, it’s an impossible team to pick. They’re going to have a good team, regardless of who’s on it. They are so many good Canadian players. Obviously as a Canadian, I was very happy to see them win gold.”
Another Sharks player high on the list of snubs was captain Joe Thornton, who was leading the league in assists at the time of the roster announcement (he’s currently second with 48, two behind Sidney Crosby). Thornton was a part of Canada’s winning team in Vancouver in 2010.
Unlike Couture, though, Thornton wasn’t getting up early. He was, though, well aware of Canada’s victory.
Was it bittersweet at all not being there?
“Not at all,” Thornton said. “I have so many friends that are on that team and I sent out a bunch of texts this morning. I’m just so happy for guys – our two guys (Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic), Rick Nash, I played with him, Marty St. Louis, I played with him. Just super excited our country won it again.”
There is some debate on whether the NHL should keep sending players to the Olympics, as NHL teams don’t benefit from halting the season in the middle of the stretch run. Islanders general manager Garth Snow, for example, was irate about losing star John Tavares for the remainder of the season after Tavares suffered a knee injury in Sochi.
Not surprisingly, Couture would like to see the Olympics continue with NHL participation in South Korea in 2018.
“You see the stuff with the injuries. That’s hockey. You play a game, and a hockey player’s going to get hurt,” he said.
“I would love to see NHL players go, but I have one voice in a hundred. We’ll see what happens.”
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Couture confirmed that only an unexpected occurrence would keep him out of the Sharks’ next game, on Thursday against the Flyers. Couture missed the last 16 games with a right hand injury, and he still wraps it for practice.
He hurt himself on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles, played through it for nearly three weeks, and eventually had surgery on Jan. 8.
“I’m ready to go in three or four days, whatever it is. Feels good as its felt in three months,” he said.
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File this one under things only heard in an NHL dressing room.
Shortly after coming off of the ice Sunday, Mike Brown commented that his feet were cold, as the Olympic break caused him to lose some of the calluses that form from skating every day. He remarked that he’d “rather be punched in the face than have cold feet.”
And, yes, he was serious.