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Flyers’ Sean Couturier Has Been Playing Through Injuries



Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier returned to the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup on Saturday against Boston after sitting for two games. (Photo: AP)

As it turns out, the Philadelphia Flyers have played a part in their own struggles, getting over-zealous with early-season success.

And maybe, just maybe, rolling out two guys on the wrong side of 30 for their regular doses of minutes they got before their season-ending injuries was a bad idea.

Flyers captain Sean Couturier was a healthy scratch for two games this past week, becoming the first team captain in a decade to be a healthy scratch. He eventually returned to the lineup on Saturday afternoon, but would you believe it if the team itself admitted they already ran Couturier into the ground?

“In a sense, it was good to give Sean the chance to, maybe, recuperate a little bit more,” Flyers general manager Danny Briere told the Snow the Goalie podcast. “I know when we say that, he doesn’t want to be scratched.”

“Early on, we were asking a lot of him,” Briere admitted. “He was playing on the power play. He was facing all the top lines. He was first on the penalty kill. And Sean was really beat up, too. If you remember, you go back to earlier in the season, Sean was missing some practices here and there.

“It wasn’t just to recuperate from playing 22 minutes (a night), he was really banged up. I think at one point, he had five different injuries that he was dealing with, and he was still playing.”

You can watch the full Snow the Goalie interview with Briere here.

Generally speaking, it is not advisable for a player who missed 22 months of professional hockey to come back and play north of 20 minutes a night on average. The Flyers have done that with both Couturier and Cam Atkinson, and suddenly, it’s reasonable to ask questions about how these players are really doing physically this late into the season.

Perhaps establishing a bit of a rotation earlier in the season would have been prudent, but the Flyers are where they are now.

In the interim, it’s on the players and coaches to mitigate the issues they exacerbated throughout the winter months.

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