Sean Couturier fought through injuries for another strong season as the Philadelphia Flyers’ first-line center. It wasn’t quite a Selke-worthy campaign again, but Couturier played well considering the circumstances. His contract only has one more year on it, so it’s going to be imperative that the Flyers improve and get him signed.
The Flyers missed the playoffs and closed out their season earlier than expected this year. They finished the season with a win on Monday, May 10th, then held their end-of-season media availability on Tuesday.
Alain Vigneault and Chuck Fletcher both spoke about the big picture and larger issues plaguing this Flyers team. After that, the players took to the podium for their exit interviews.
This week, we’ll be going through those exit interviews with full transcripts and quotes. We’ll dig into any interesting tidbits at the end.
Sean Couturier Exit Interview
About an hour ago Alain Vigneault said he thought you had a good year, but maybe wasn’t at the same level as your play last year. Would you agree with that assessment?
Yeah, I think so. I think it’s a fair statement. Obviously, last year was a really good year for me personally; this year, it was okay. I think there was room for some better play, but it is what it is. You know, just got to be better.
Why do you think the Flyers had more problems with COVID circumstances than other teams?
I’m not sure. It can be one of many things that we didn’t handle the right way this year, or we didn’t do it the right way. But it’s tough to pinpoint one thing in particular. Obviously, if you look at the way we played after COVID, we didn’t seem to be the same team and obviously, we might not have handled it the best way possible. But again, it is what it is.
How much of any sort of downtick in your season would you chalk up to the injuries that you had? And how are you feeling physically now?
Yeah, it was a grind. I only played 45 I think. And it was a grind especially when I missed that game there on the Island and I came back, took me probably seven to 10 days to kind of get my legs going again, and I wasn’t feeling as good as before that injury. But yeah, it was tough to recover from any sort of little injuries. So it was a grind but like I said, every team went through that schedule. It might have been a little tougher because the COVID hit us but we needed to be better and we weren’t good enough.
Can you see anything there that caused special teams play to take a step back?
Well, I think we lost some key guys last offseason, guys with experience that were good penalty killers, you got guys like [Nate] Thompson and [Tyler] Pitlick and even [Derek] Grant that were those guys that we brought in, were experienced and knew their role and were good at it. This year we had kind of new guys kind of filling in some roles and yeah, those are tough players to replace especially when they’re established for so many years in the league. It’s an opportunity for some younger guys or some new guys to fill in roles. But those are three guys that you don’t replace with one guy, or you need a few guys to step up. So yeah, it’s tough losing those guys,
At the end of next season, your contract is up. Where are you at mentally in terms of that?
We’ll see. I mean, I obviously love it here in Philly. It’s a great city. The organization’s been awesome to me since I’ve gotten here. So, obviously, I’d love to stay. But it’s part of the game, part of the business, and we’ll see what happens. I still have another year to play. So we’ll see.
Did you have difficulty working out last summer in Canada?
Yeah, there were limitations. I had to rent the ice by myself two, three times a week so it wasn’t easy. It was tough to kind of motivate myself to do it. But I found a way. And I have a gym at home. So there’s no excuse for me. I felt good and I felt in pretty great shape actually, no distractions from the outside the world. All I had to do is with pretty much train and recover. That’s, you know, you couldn’t really do much also. I felt pretty good coming into last season.
First and foremost, Sean Couturier may have had a down year overall, but that didn’t impact his scoring. He had 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 45 games (0.91 P/G). That’s a higher clip than he had last season with 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) in 69 games (0.86 P/G). It’s fair to say that he had a down year overall, though. He battled through injuries and that was evident at times.
Couturier’s “It can be one of many things that we didn’t handle the right way this year, or we didn’t do it the right way” quote is interesting. He seemed frustrated after bad losses and he’s a guy that will give it his all no matter what. The Flyers definitely had a lot of things go wrong this season and they were unable to correct them. Couturier acknowledged that a bit here.
The point about the penalty kill losing a few veterans is somewhat valid. They barely had Nate Thompson and Derek Grant, but Tyler Pitlick is a fine name to mention. However, I do think that losing Matt Niskanen caused a trickledown effect that impacted the defensemen in all situations.
The Flyers are going to need to shell out this offseason if they want Sean Couturier to stay after next season. He loves it in Philly, but if the team misses the playoffs again, he could look for a big contract with a contender after his very team-friendly deal with the Flyers.
Transcript via Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers Exit Interviews