Chat wrap: Worcester’s Logan Couture

Worcester Sharks rookie center and 2010 AHL All-Star Logan Couture stepped into the AHL Chat Room to answer fans’ questions on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Describe what it felt like when you were drafted 9th overall by the San Jose Sharks in 2007. – Jared from Oxford, Mass.
A lot of feelings went into it. I was happy most of all to be able to spend that day with my family. My parents helped bring me the whole way up, since I started skating at the age of three. They never pushed me, but they always supported me. So to be able to share that day with my family made it extra special.

We had a feeling going in that I was going to get picked by Florida in the 10th spot, but then a couple trades were made. Right before the ninth spot, San Jose traded with St. Louis to get the ninth picked. So there was a little bit of a feeling that they had traded up to get me, and when they called by name, it was just complete joy and happiness.

Have you had to make any adjustments to your game this season as your transitioned from juniors to the pros? – Tim from Worcester, Mass.
I think just adjusting to the speed and strength of the professional players. The OHL is a great league, and it really prepares the players that play in that league to be pro players with the amount of games that you play in junior, and the skill level that the OHL does have.

So other than the speed and strength of players, there wasn’t really a huge adjustment, I guess. I’ve been lucky here in Worcester to play with some really skilled players, which definitely has helped (also).

What was the experience like joining Worcester late last season and for the playoffs, and how important was it for you to get an early taste of professional hockey prior to your first full season? – Kevin from Boston, Mass.
It was definitely a lot of fun. It really helped me coming into this year to know what to expect. There is that little adjustment like I said, so (it was great) to be able to come down and play in a couple days, and especially to get some playoff atmosphere.

I had just come off a tough loss in Ottawa (OHL), we lost in seven games, so it was tough coming here after a loss like that. But to jump into that playoff run that we had, to make it to the second round, it definitely helped.

What has it been like playing on a Worcester team this season that features so many rookies and young players that are making such key contributions? – Dan from Worcester, Mass.
It’s been a lot of fun. This team, there are a lot of skilled players. I think we have a good mixture of young players and veteran players that are there to help us if we need anything. It’s great to see night in and night out, different guys succeeding, whether it’s our goalies, our young defensemen, and out front.

I think we have 12 or 13 rookies this year, and to see everyone contributing night in and night out has been awesome.

The team has obviously been playing excellent hockey ever since a seven-game losing streak in November… What do you see as some of the keys to the team’s sustained success over this span? – Kyle from Boston, Mass.
Well when we went through that losing streak, I think we were a bounce or two away from winning a lot of those games. It’s not like we were getting blown out. But when we’re successful, we’re always a team that works harder than the other team. We’re always first to the puck, we’re always making quick little plays and smart plays in our own end. And that’s what the coaching staff is really preaching this year – to outwork and win races to pucks against the other team – and when we do that, we’re successful.

There was the one game where we were down 5-1 against Portland and ended up coming back and winning in overtime. The other thing about the team is that we never quit. I don’t know if that’s something to do with us being young or the older guys being there to push us, but whatever the score is, we’re never going to quit in a game. We always think we have a chance to come back and win it, like we did in that game against Portland.

You’ve been called up more than a handful of times already this season. How tough is the travel between San Jose and Worcester when you get called up, and do you have any particular stories about any of those trips? – Jon from Shrewsbury, Mass.
The travel definitely isn’t easy, flying coast to coast most times. It’s about a six-hour flight, and with the three-hour time change, even though we’re young it isn’t easy on our bodies. But to play in the National Hockey League, I’m sure you could ask anyone on our team if they’d do it, and they’d say yes in a heartbeat. So it’s definitely worth doing to get the opportunity to play for the San Jose Sharks. I wish the flight was a little shorter, but I’m still happy to do it.

One time, I had gone up and down about four times in a six-day period. I ended up flying, I think, into Nashville. I flew in the night before, got to the hotel, had my hockey bag with me, and took it into my room. I woke up the next morning for pre-game skate, and by the time I got to the rink I realized I left my hockey bag in the hotel room. Luckily they got someone from the hotel to bring it over just in time so I could get on the ice.

Another time, I think it was that same trip. I had flown so many times, I got into line at the airport – I think I was flying United – and they ask you where you’re going before you get into a couple different check-ins. So I walked up and the guy asked me where I was going, and I didn’t know. I didn’t know which city I was flying to because I had been to so many places.

What was it like going to the AHL All-Star Classic last month as a rookie? – Kirstin from North Syracuse, N.Y.
Yeah, it was fun. I had the opportunity to play in a couple OHL All-Star Games, and I enjoyed those and getting to meet players from across the league. And I knew coming into this game that I’d have the opportunity to meet a lot of guys that I’d never met before. I knew a couple guys on the team going in, and it was fun to meet guys from different teams.

You know, you play against them night in and night out, and you don’t really know them as people. But you get to spend some time with them and get to know them, so it’s a great experience.

Out of the places you’ve been so far, which has been the toughest AHL building in which to play a road game? – Robert from Hershey, Penn.
Providence is always tough to win in for us, and we’ve struggled in Portland for some reason. So those two, I guess.

What do you enjoy most about being a professional hockey player? – Martha from Fitchburg, Mass.
I think just getting up and going to the rink every day. Being 20 years old, a lot of my friends are going to work or still going to school. There are a couple of us who are luckily playing hockey professionally, but there aren’t many people in the world that get to play the sport that they love every day for a living. So just going to the rink, you spend three hours a day playing hockey, you have some fun with the guys, and you’re doing what you love and getting paid for it.

Who are your roommates with Worcester this year, and how did you choose them? – Zack from Hudson, Mass.
I live with Alex Stalock and Nick Petrecki. When we were in San Jose, we all spent time together. Nick’s my age and Alex is a couple years older, but we all hung out together in San Jose, and we kind of got sent down around the same time this year. So we just decided that we would try and find a place together since we got along real well up there. And it’s continued down here – they are two great guys to live with.

Has Alex Stalock forgiven you yet for scoring two goals on him at the All-Star Game, one in regulation and one in the shootout? – Josh from Worcester, Mass.
I don’t know if he’s forgiven me, but right after it happened he heard a lot about it, whether it was from me or from guys on the team. But he makes enough saves on me in practice that it was okay to get a couple goals on him in the All-Star Game.

Do you still keep in touch with some of your old teammates with London in the OHL? – Matthew from Lowell, Mass.
Yeah, I do. I talk to a couple of the guys, just to check up and see how they’re doing. They’ll send me a text or whatever if I get called up – like when I scored my first NHL goal in Detroit, a lot of them texted me saying congrats and stuff like that. There are a couple from my hometown that I get to see during the summer and talk to more, but yeah, I do keep in touch.

What was the experience like to score your first NHL goal with San Jose?
It was pretty crazy, especially scoring it in Detroit. I had some family there since it’s only a couple hours away from my hometown. I’m sure scoring it anywhere in the National Hockey League would have been a great thrill, but to have it in Detroit with my family there and close to home made it a little extra special.

It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing, and to actually do it against a team like the Red Wings and a goalie like Chris Osgood was something special.

Where do you spend your offseason? If you were not a hockey player, what do you think you’d want to be doing? – Tyler from Worcester, Mass.
I go home in the offseason, back to London, Ontario.

And if I weren’t a hockey player… My mom is a gym teacher, and I might look at possibly being a gym teacher or following my father as a firefighter. And he was also a cop, so I would probably be following one of them if I weren’t playing hockey.