Couturier Has Been Owning Like Kirstie Alley at a Chipotle >

by Michael DeNicola

Friday, April 05, 2013 --

Confidence is a very powerful feeling. It's gotten millions of male bar flies laid many a drunken evening; it has risen athletes like Deion Sanders to the ultimate star status; it has put Americans on the moon; it has driven men and women up the icy faces and summit of Mount Everest; and it has given Flyers forward Sean Couturier the ability to dominate like we all knew he can.

For the first time since January 08 through January 17, 2012, Coots has strung points together in four consecutive games. Back in 2012, Sean scored one goal in each of five sequential contests and hasn't tallied a chain like that until recently. 

Snapping a 15-game pointless drought against the Boston Bruins last Saturday, Sean's been on a roll through the last six days. What has sparked our 20-year old future star? Could we possibly credit the trade deadline and the fact Coots wasn't dealt away? It's apparent he is playing with more certainty to his game, and he's been doing so without any high caliber offensive linemates. 

Couturier is not just putting up offensive numbers, but he's also doing a fine job controlling the defensive zone. Whether it's poke-checking, intelligent positioning, or cloaking the puck-handler like the cape on a magician, Sean has absolutely been a terror in all three realms of the rink. Last night was no different.

In our 5 - 3 victory over Toronto, Coots skated away with two assists and a plus-2 rating. On a Voracek goal deep in the 1st frame, Couturier brought the puck through center ice and over Toronto's blue line while being contested by a backchecking Dion Phaneuf (Toronto's captain, and #1 defenseman). As Voracek followed suit down the opposite side, Couturier roped the puck through the slot, through two sets of Toronto skates, and into Jakub's stickblade where Voracek lit the lamp on gaping net. 

It was an easy goal for Voracek, but credit all the manufacturing to #14. 

Sean soaked the attention away from a crashing Jakub Voracek and still managed to thread the rubber with surgical precision. His greatest asset is arguably his on-ice vision, and it was never more displayed than it was on that sexy assist. Mixed with his vision, Coots harnesses a scary ability to protect the puck away from his body which we've sort of missed the majority of the 2013 season. It's what opens opportunities for Sean to make plays. 

But being a very young player with so much potential star status, Couturier is going to go in and out between being an average, everyday skater and the brilliant 8th Overall pick the Flyers knew they'd be getting. It comes with the territory of being a 20-year old forward, and especially one who's counted on to neutralize chances against us in our end. 

Sean needs to remember this week of hockey. He has to realize that his presence in every play, in every zone, is the x-factor. He not only has to realize it, he has to believe it. Couturier seems to be playing like he believes in himself and his ability to be a game-changer. 

Coots is doing what we've been screaming for all season long..... just put the puck on net, and great things will follow. For instance --


That deflection off PK Subban's skate marked Couturier's first goal-scored since January 27 against Tampa Bay. Nevertheless, a goal's a goal. It wound up tying the game and getting our forwards on the scoring track. 

Couturier put a clapper on James Reimer's net last night that clipped Jay Rosehill's ass on its way in Toronto's cage. Sean wasted no time being cute with the puck; it meandered its way north of the faceoff dot and Couturier made a play. The goal was credited to Rosehill, but that's just a technicality. We all know that puck roosted in the twine from Couturier's launch. 

My point is, Sean is getting into a groove. And when this kid gains steam, he shines like the rest of the best. What I am hoping -- and I'm sure Flyers management is hoping as well -- is that Couturier, moving forward, is able to collect this confident effort, and tow it through a more consistent interval. 

Aside from our sieve-like defense the majority of the season, half of the reason why this team's been under-performing is because our young talents -- particularly our sophomore skaters -- have disappeared from constant, concurring production (both offensively and defensively). Couturier is more than capable of taking the reins on that core group and guiding them towards the light. 

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