Nobody likes to be wrong, that is certain. But the key is to own up to your imperfections. For myself, I could not have been more wrong about Flyer’s rookie, Sean Couturier.
For those of you that have followed us since the beginning, you will recall a conversation Mike and I had on the radio prior to the season. The two of us had scouted the rookie game, and in particular, Sean Couturier. We both came to the same assessment based on what we saw.
That Sean wasn’t quite ready.
Another year of junior hockey with Drummondville would do wonders to get him pro ready. Couturier needed to bulk up to compete for an NHL roster spot. There were several times I noticed Sean being pushed off a loose puck by smaller players, his faceoffs were lackluster, and his lack of speed was concerning.
Even after the Flyers announced he would be on the opening day roster, I was positive he would be sent back to his junior team after 10-games. That would have preserved the first year of his contract, and given him another year with the Flyers. Heck, I even second guessed the decision management made to keep him around after the 10-game window had expired.
Fast forward 6 months.
Well don’t I have egg on my face?
Couturier has not only turned out to be a great addition to this Flyers roster, but a necessary one. Watching Sean come of age right before our very eyes has been an absolute pleasure to behold. His hockey sense and awareness are advanced far beyond his young age. That is something that cannot be taught. Sean has taken pride in the fact that he has become a shut down defensive center, something that young players tend to neglect. There is plenty of time to fine tune his offensive game, not that it’s too shabby as it is.
Sean has even received high praise from veteran winger, Jaromir Jagr --
For you Penguins fans out there, Ron Francis was one of the greatest two way forwards in NHL history. He played for the Penguins from ’91-’98. Yes, you had a team back then, and they were pretty good. Francis won the Selke award, the award given to the NHL forward who best excels at the defensive aspects of the game, in 1995. At 6’3”, 200 lbs, Francis even had a very similar stature to the 6’4” 195 lb Couturier.
For Sean to draw comparison to a player of Francis’ caliber is of the highest compliment. There is no question that the future is extremely bright for the 19-year-old. To watch him mature so quickly speaks volumes to, not only his character, but the type of player he can become.
Nobody likes to be wrong. But in this case, I could not be more happy that I was. Keep up the good work, Sean, we look forward to amazing things in the not so distant future.
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