July 7, 2011 Leave a comment
Sean Couturier was drafted eighth overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in this year’s 2011 NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota. The pick, acquired by the Flyers in the Jeff Carter trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, was the highest pick the team has had since 2007 – and just the second time in decades the Flyers have drafted this high. Couturier sat down with Alan Bass of PhilaPhans.com after his second day of Rookie Camp.
Sean Couturier: I’m a pretty calm person, and I do my own thing. But when I get on the ice, I’m pretty intense, I work hard. I’m a two-way forward.
Q: Let’s start with the beginning: when did you first start playing hockey?
SC: I was about four or five when I started.
Q: Growing up, what was the best piece of advice your father gave you, whether it’s relevant to hockey or not (Sylvain Couturier was drafted 65th overall in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft)?
SC: Nothing specific, just being around him I learned a lot.
Q: When did you realize that you had the talent to eventually make it to the NHL?
SC: Since I was young I dreamed of playing in the NHL, so I’ve always made the sacrifice to be the best I can. All through minor hockey my goal was to play in the NHL someday. It takes a lot of hard work, you know?
Q: How often do you think about the missed opportunity after losing to Russia in the World Juniors?
SC: It was a tough loss, a tough ending. You never wanna finish a tournament like that. But you should take the positives of it. It was still great playing against the best in the world. So it was good overall.
Q: Who were your closest friends in the Q?
SC: I don’t know, we were all pretty close. I did room with Andrew Randazzo, so I was pretty tight with him.
Q: What do you enjoy doing away from the rink?
SC: Not much, just relaxing and maybe watching movies. Sleeping, too. I like The Hangover (laughs).
Q: Fast forward to the Scouting Combine. Tell me about that experience, in addition to interviewing with the teams.
SC: It was a pretty nervous time. You want to show everything you got to the media and each team. It was a pretty nervewracking time, but you just try to stay yourself and give everything you got. The Wingate [was probably the hardest test].
Q: How many teams did you interview with? What were some of the strangest questions they asked you?
SC: About 20. There wasn’t really any strange questions. It was pretty straightforward, just trying to get to know me as a player.
Q: The whole hockey world was shocked when Winnipeg took Mark Scheifle seventh overall instead of you. What went through your head initially, and did the thought of slipping down further pop into your mind?
SC: I didn’t really know what to expect going into the draft. Anything can happen. For sure I was a bit surprised. You always want to hear your name quickly, but again, I’m really lucky to be here.
Q: Did you know you were drafted by Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL (6th round, 133rd overall)?
SC: (Laughs) Yeah, I saw that in the media.
Q: Did they even contact you at all?
Q: You played with Brayden Schenn on Canada’s World Junior team this year, and are now fighting for a roster spot. Tell me how he improved your game.
SC: It was a great time there. He had a couple of games in the NHL already, so it was great to be around him. Just watching him play, he does all the little details right. Those are the things you have to do to be a pro.
Q: What are your first impressions so far of the Philly organization? The coaches, other players, management, fans, and media?
SC: Since I’ve been drafted, everything’s been great. I’ve been treated first-class. Seeing the fans here both days is great, it’s really special. It’s great to see how well they follow the team.
Q: Right now it looks like only you or Brayden will make the opening night roster – not both of you. If I’m Coach Laviolette, make your case to me why you’re more fit to do so right now.
SC: I don’t know (Laughs), you can’t really judge. A lot of things can happen in hockey.
Alan Bass, a former writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.