Sean Couturier, first-line center for the Philadelphia Flyers, took a nasty fall during practice on Tuesday, April 17. During a passing drill, the American-born forward collided with his teammate, defenseman Radko Gudas, after which Couturier had a hard time getting back to his skates, as seen in the video above.
While it initially looked like Couturier might have suffered a torn ACL or MCL, he was able to walk off the ice, which is a good sign. He was taken to the locker room, with some help from head athletic trainer Jim McCrossin, but he did appear to be putting weight on both of his feet while skating off.
The Flyers have not given an update on his current status, but Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux told the media, “I really don’t know anything yet. Didn’t look too good. I guess we’ll know more later. … We’re not going to jump to conclusions here. We’ll see how [Couturier] is. But if it does come down to [moving to center], whatever is the best for the team, you go ahead and do it,” he added.
The team’s alternate captain, Wayne Simmonds, seemed to have a more positive outlook on Couturier, looking ahead to Game 4.
“Coots will be fine. I’m not worried about Coots,” Simmons told the media after Tuesday’s practice, using a popular nickname for the veteran of seven NHL seasons.
The Inquirer suggested that no information from the Flyers front office isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact, sports writer Sam Carchidi called the silence from the team “ominous.”
Coach Dave Hakstol has changed up the lines for a shake-up ahead of Wednesday night’s playoff game.
“Whatever the lines, ‘we have to play with confidence,’ said captain Claude Giroux, subdued and mindful that the Penguins make that difficult. ‘When we play with confidence, we can be a better team and we make more plays. We’ve got to be smart against these guys. We know that. We know the crowd’s going to be ready in Game 4 and we will, too.’ Couturier, if available, will center Giroux and Voracek on the top line. The trio was productive in the first 26 games, but was broken up after the Flyers dropped 10 straight (0-5-5).”
Couturier’s collision couldn’t come at a less convenient time and it is a clear cause for concern for a Philadelphia team locked in a heated playoff battle with their in-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pens currently enjoy a 2-1 series lead after embarrassing the Flyers 7-0 in Game 1 and trading lopsided 5-1 wins in the next two meetings. Couturier’s goal and two assists in Game 2 helped propel his team to a much-needed victory. The Flyers could ill afford to lose the 25-year-old Phoenix native to injury. Couturier enjoyed a career year during the 2017-18 regular season, setting personal bests with 31 goals and 45 assists. His stats were good enough for second in goals and third in total points among Flyers players.
Game 4 of the first-round series between the Flyers and Penguins is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. Eastern at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.