Programming note: Blue Jackets-Sharks coverage gets underway at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – No, Logan Couture isn’t taking fewer faceoffs because he has lingering issues from his hand surgery over the summer.
It’s simply a matter of effectiveness, according to coach Todd McLellan, who has chosen to put linemate Patrick Marleau in the faceoff circle lately, including Tuesday in Boston. Couture took one faceoff in the game to Marleau’s 11.
Couture has won just 40.3 percent of his draws this season, compared with Marleau’s 48.9 percent success rate.
“Pretty simple. Logan hasn’t been winning very many,” said McLellan, when asked to explain the switch. “Not that Patty’s numbers have been astronomical, but they have been much better than Logan’s. We haven’t started with the puck on a regular basis like we normally do.”
Couture said: “In my career I’ve been somewhere near 50 percent and that’s where I want to be. I’ve got to get better at it.”
The Sharks sit at 13th in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 50.4 percent, which isn’t terrible, unless it’s compared with recent history. Rather remarkably, the Sharks have finished either first or second in the NHL in faceoff percentage for the last six seasons.
Faceoffs are the responsibility of more than the guy who’s taking them, though, McLellan was quick to point out.
“Unfortunately when you look at numbers in faceoff circles, one guy represents the group. That’s the centerman,” McLellan said. “I go back to the [4-0 loss in New York on Sunday], there were faceoffs we were winning and we weren’t on our toes. The win quickly turned into a loss, and it reflected on an individual’s stats.”
The Couture-Marleau combination has been surging in terms of productivity lately, so the switch has had a positive effect in that regard.
Couture was flying against the Bruins and has five points in his last three games, while Marleau has five points in his last four.
“Offensively you have different responsibilities as opposed to a winger, so you just have to be ready for whatever position you start at,” Marleau said.