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SAN JOSE – When the Sharks revealed the four players that would be rotating alternate captains for the upcoming season, there was some surprise not just for who was on the list, but who was left off of it.
Logan Couture, painted by management all summer long as one of the new young core players that was expected to play a larger role in the dressing room, admitted to some disappointment in not being among the team’s official leadership group for the time being.
“I think it’s human nature to be disappointed. Any player would be, I think, in this situation,” Couture said. “But, same person. You can’t let if affect you. I’m going to come in and do the exact same thing if I had a letter or if I didn’t.”
Todd McLellan isn’t concerned that Couture will react in a negative way after Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski were revealed as the rotating alternates.
“Logan has been fine. He’s dealt with me the way I thought he would, very professional. When somebody doesn’t get one, it’s not like we’re closing the door on the individual and saying ‘don’t ever come back, you’re not qualified.’ That’s not the case," McLellan said.
“But, we’ve had a very large distraction when it comes to this event. Here we are, again we’re talking about it today. He’s dealt with it very well. He knows what we’re trying to accomplish, and he’s a very, very big part of it. He doesn’t need to have the felt on his shoulder to become a leader. We include him in that group.”
McLellan said on Thursday that the decision on the four alternates was made in conjunction with everyone on the roster through individual and group meetings.
Couture said: “I think a lot of guys had conversations with the coaching staff about which direction we were going to go with the letters. A lot of one-on-ones, group conversations, stuff like that. Long process, but the four guys they chose are good leaders and important players for our team. They are go-to guys.”
I asked Couture the same question I posed to a few players on Thursday – did the whole removal and eventual re-application of letters actually accomplish anything?
“No idea, honestly. I don’t know. It was a weird summer, a lot of things happened. We can only live in the present, and right now we’ve got four guys with letters on their jerseys, and that’s that,” Couture said. “We’ve got enough leaders in this room. … We’re ready to move forward.”
So is the coach. In a half-joking, half-serious tone, McLellan said: “Can you imagine if we rolled out five or six of them? It would be friggin’ Christmas and you guys would still be asking me questions. Enough of that already.”