Logan Couture of Sharks injured in practice, leaves on crutches

Off to a hot start, the San Jose Sharks may have lost center Logan Couture to a leg injury for possibly an extended period.
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Bad news for the San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture was injured in practice on Thursday morning. No word yet on his prognosis but the 26-year-old center left New Jersey’s Prudential Center on crutches wearing a protective boot on his right foot and ankle. That doesn’t sound good.

Losing Couture for any period of time would be a tough break for the Sharks, who have been one of the good news stories of the young season. After winning their first two games against division rivals Los Angeles and Anaheim, San Jose ran its record to 3-0 with a 5–0 spanking of the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday night.

Couture, who was named an alternate captain prior to the season, has been relatively quiet with just one assist, but he’s played a role in the team’s early success by centering a dynamic line featuring Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward. He’s averaging 17:52 of ice time per game, second among the team’s forwards, and is the team’s go-to guy for key face-offs.

If Couture is out for any period of time the pressure could be on Tomas Hertl to fill the void. The 21-year-old has scored twice and been a solid presence in the middle of an effective third line. Coach Peter DeBoer might also want to look at inserting Ben Smith into the lineup as Couture's replacement, allowing him to leave the other three lines intact.