Logan Couture

Couture shares injury update detailing ‘progress' toward Sharks return 

NBC Universal, Inc.

The return of Sharks captain Logan Couture could be near.

Couture has yet to play during the 2023-24 NHL season while recovering from a lower-body injury.

During the Sharks' 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday at SAP Center, Couture revealed to NBC Sports California's Tara Slone that his recovery has been trending in the right direction.

"There's been some progress; I've been able to practice lately, so hopefully, I'll be back playing with the guys soon," Couture told Slone.

When asked if there was anything that the timetable for his return is contingent on, Couture revealed that the main focus is getting through practice before any further assessment is made.

"I'm not sure. I've got to keep practicing; I've only been able to get through two practices so far," Couture said. "So practice this week, and go from there."

The Sharks have struggled mightily without their 34-year-old captain in the midst of a nine-game losing streak while boasting the worst record in the league at 9-26-3. Couture detailed how difficult it has been to not be able to help the team on the ice while they navigate through a turbulent season.

"It's tough; I try to support the guys as much as possible," Couture explained. "When you're losing, it makes coming to the rink some days tough. But these guys are very proud players, and they want to win; they want to be successful, so I've tried to support them as much as I can. I see the passion every day. But there's been growth in different areas, individuals, and as a team, I think we're a really close team. I think we played some good hockey in stretches."

While Couture's injury has kept him off the ice, it hasn't stopped him from engaging in the leadership role he takes as one of the respected veterans on the roster.

"It's been tough, I haven't been traveling with the guys," Couture shared. "Sometimes it's a text message, it's a phone call, it's a Facetime. But when we're here, and I'm able to be around the rink, it's getting guys one-on-one or getting guys in small groups and just talking them through things. Listening is the big thing. When you're not in the locker room, you kind of hear everyone else's opinion on different things. I've just tried to be as good of a listener and supporter as I can."

Center Tomáš Hertl has helped fill the leadership void during Couture's extended absence, leading the Sharks in both goals (13) and points (28) this season. Couture explained why Hertl is so revered by his teammates while praising the 30-year-old for his exceptional play this season.

"He's always been a leader. He's a natural leader, he's someone that players gravitate to," Couture said. "Even as someone who doesn't speak English as a first language, he's done a tremendous job learning the language. There's a lot of respect in our dressing room for Tommy Hertl, and I think his play has been excellent this season. Like I said, he's a guy that a lot of guys in that room look to for big goals [and] changing momentum in games and he's done that.

Couture was asked if he's learned anything about himself while he's been away from the team, revealing that getting to spend quality time with his family has been a silver lining to an otherwise difficult situation.

"It's tough. Patience [is] one thing, trying not to get frustrated at the small things, although I'm still working at that," Couture shared with Slone. "The best thing for me so far, minus the injury, is I've gotten some time to spend with my son. So away from the rink, everything has been good, but I'm excited to get back and play."

Couture's return potentially nearing is huge news for the Sharks, who desperately need the stewardship of their absent captain. While San Jose has shown flashes of promise at times this season, a veteran leader like Couture could go a long way for a very young roster attempting to figure it out on the fly.

Download and follow the San Jose Hockey Now podcast

Contact Us