Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers Official DeskSite of the Philadelphia Flyers Flyer Wire
  • RSS

Couturier's maturity belies his age

Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 2:07 PM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Staff Writer
Share with your Friends

Couturier\'s maturity belies his age

PITTSBURGH -- Flyers rookie Sean Couturier stood in the corner of the visitors' dressing room holding his hat-trick puck, smiling as the cameras rushed over to document the moment and provide the image that one day, much later in his life, will be a cherished piece of his memorabilia.

It isn't right now. Couturier, at 19 years old, is too mature to let his personal success get in the way of the ultimate goal.

"I haven't really thought about it," he told NHL.com shortly after posing with the puck he used to score his hat trick goal with 1:49 left in the Flyers 8-5 win against Pittsburgh on Friday night. "It's special right now. It's great, but what is most important is the big win. We bounced back, battled back hard, and that's most important."

Couturier doesn't look like a teenager. He's tall, somewhat lanky, but strong with long hair that he has to tie back so it doesn't cover his face.

He doesn't speak like a teenager. He doesn't act like one -- and, as if you didn't know this already, he certainly doesn't play like one.

"He plays like he would have played for 20 years," 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr said.

But Couturier hasn't even been alive for 20 years, and here he is playing a starring role for the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- not only with his offensive game, but with the defensive prowess that got him to this point in his oh so very young career.

He has been tasked with shutting down the most dominant player in the NHL today, and he's doing it splendidly. Couturier has three goals and an assist at even strength while Evgeni Malkin, his sparring partner through two games in this wildly exciting Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, has no even-strength points and is minus-5.

Malkin had 109 points during the regular season; Couturier had 27.

The Flyers have two wins in the playoffs; the Penguins have zero.

"In my hockey career I don't think I've seen somebody that good defensively at a young age," said Jagr, who is clearly one of Couturier's biggest fans.

Jagr compared Couturier to Ron Francis; no small comparison considering Francis is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and is fourth all-time on the NHL scoring list with 1,798 points.

"He showed it the first 10 games he played this season, and coach saw it right away," Jagr continued when asked about Couturier's defense. "He was putting him in that kind of key situation; to be up one goal in the last minute of the game, and he's there. A key faceoff, he's there all the time. I would say he's our best defensive forward at age the age of 18, 19."

Couturier got to this point by being one of the most mature teenagers Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has been around.

"I do think he's a mature kid for his age with regard to having to play against some of the best players in the world in a league that has compromised a lot of men," Laviolette said. "I do think he plays older than he is."

No situation seems too big for Couturier; no stage too grand. He doesn't use words like "surreal" or "overwhelming" to paint a picture of his rookie season and his initiation into Stanley Cup playoff hockey.

Instead, in describing what it was like to score his first career playoff goal, one that just happened to tie the game at 4-4 with 2.8 seconds left in the second period, Couturier said this: "It feels great, but when you're out there you don't really think about it. You just think it's a big goal and it got the team back in the game. That's what is important."

When given a chance to pat himself on the back for the work he's done against Malkin, he offered this: "It feels good. You get the job done, but it's not an easy task and you have to be ready every shift. He can turn the game around quickly. He hasn't been on his game maybe the first two games, but he'll bounce back sooner or later so you've got to be ready."

So where does that maturity come from? Couturier credits his father.

Sylvain Couturier played 33 games over three seasons for the Los Angeles Kings during the early Gretzky years from 1988-92. He also played several more seasons in the minor leagues.

"He played pro hockey, so being around him in the dressing room, you watch players and try to do what they do when you're younger," Couturier said. "It probably helped me just being around him. It helped me mature for sure."

It's Couturier's maturation process at the NHL level that impresses Laviolette so much.

"There is always a feeling out process with players, but we started giving him responsibility in training camp and any time we did that he answered the bell," Laviolette said. "Really he had a tremendous year. He may not win the Calder (Trophy) because he didn't put up 50 points, but he had a terrific year."

Couturier also had a gradual year. He started out playing regular minutes, but as the season wore on those minutes got harder because his responsibilities grew. By the last quarter, he was playing the shutdown role that he is still in today.

"And again he didn't let us down," Laviolette said. "I think it's just getting to know a player, getting him used to the League, the systems, the players, and not overwhelming him right off the bat. Since he's been here he's done a good job; his role has just expanded a little more."

But his personality hasn't changed.

Oh, sure, he is humbled by all he's getting to do at 19 years of age, but Couturier is far too mature to let himself contemplate the magnitude of it all right now.

"It's pretty special in the moment, but you don't really realize it right now," Couturier said. "Probably later, maybe in the summer or the next couple of years, that's when I'll realize it more."




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


C. Giroux 78 22 45 -8 67
W. Simmonds 81 32 28 -7 60
B. Schenn 80 26 33 3 59
J. Voracek 73 11 44 -5 55
S. Gostisbehere 64 17 29 8 46
S. Couturier 63 11 28 8 39
M. Raffl 82 13 18 9 31
M. Read 79 11 15 -5 26
M. Streit 62 6 17 -1 23
S. Laughton 71 7 14 -2 21
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.