Couture Questionable, Brown Ready To Go
SAN JOSE — Logan Couture is sick and Mike Brown is ready to go, which means more changes could be coming to the San Jose Sharks lineup.
Couture missed the Sharks morning skate on Saturday because of an undisclosed illness and is considered questionable for tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks at SAP Center. If Couture can’t play, the Sharks would activate Brown, which would require a roster move, likely one of the team’s eight defensemen would be reassigned to AHL Worcester.
“He showed up, wasn’t feeling real good. We’ll see how he is at game time,” head coach Todd McLellan said.
If Couture doesn’t play, more responsibility will be thrown at Barclay Goodrow and Tye McGinn. McGinn skated alongside Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau on Saturday while Goodrow practiced on a line with Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski. Brown skated with Andrew Desjardins and John Scott while James Sheppard, Tomas Herl and Matt Nieto filled out the Sharks third line.
“With the [Couture] question mark and some roster moves, we’re a little bit in flux right now,” McLellan said. “We didn’t plan, so [Brown] should be back in the lineup tonight.”
Goodrow, who signed with the Sharks as an undrafted free agent in March, continues to see his role with the club expand as the season progresses. The 21-year-old received playing time on the penalty kill after Adam Burish was sent down to Worcester last week and now he’s receiving an opportunity to skate with the Sharks top six.
“It’s nice to gain trust from the coaches,” Goodrow said. “They trust you to put you out in certain situations and, hopefully, as I become more comfortable and the games go on, that only goes up.”
Couture’s illness comes at a time when the NHL is grappling with a mumps outbreak. Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin and Clayton Stoner of the Ducks have all missed games because of the mumps and the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues have also lost players to the illness.
The mumps outbreak is believed to have started in Anaheim, where the Wild played on Oct. 17 and the Blues competed on Oct. 19. The Sharks played the Ducks in Anaheim on Oct. 26 in a game where the teams became intimately familiar with one another, combining for 165 penalty minutes.
But McLellan did not associate Couture’s illness with the mumps and he indicated that the Sharks are taking precautions against the virus.
“The league is aware that there is an outbreak, if you want to call it, and we’re aware of it.” McLellan said. “It’s been addressed by our doctors and training staff to the players. We’ve been told there’s certain things that we need to do to protect ourselves and we’re taking the right approach.”
If Brown’s number is called, he’ll take the ice for his first game since he injured his hand blocking a shot against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 11.
“I’ve been watching a lot of games from above, got to see a different view,” Brown said. “I’ve got that energy in, so hopefully I can use it tonight.”
Brown’s activation would require a roster move. The Sharks are holding eight defensemen and 13 forwards in the wake of Matt Tennyson’s call up to replace Adam Burish on Sunday, so a blue liner will likely be sent to Worcester if a move is made.
Alex Stalock will return from a minor knee injury to back up goalie Antti Niemi against the Ducks tonight. Troy Grosenick is currently on the injured reserve.