San Jose Sharks

It isn't as if Logan Couture doesn't appreciate the recognition that came Tuesday when he was named as one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy that goes annually to the NHL's top rookie.

But after answering two or three questions about joining Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes and Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders on the list, Couture shifted the topic to more pressing matters.

"I'm sure once the season is over, I'll reflect on it," he said, "but right now I'm only focused on playoffs."

Couture had just come off the ice after the morning skate and talked about the importance of a strong showing by the Sharks after they were drubbed 4-0 on Saturday night by the Los Angeles Kings.

"We can get back to it tonight," he said. "We've been a good road team all year. Game 3 is huge, pivotal in every series. We need a great effort tonight."

Couture did call it a great honor to be a Calder finalist as selected by voting of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

"This year there's a lot of great rookies in the league," he said, "and to be named one of the top three is a great honor to everyone here in the Sharks organization."

The winner will be named June 22 in Las Vegas at the league's annual awards ceremony. Couture said that will be his second trip to the gambling mecca and that his parents already are making arrangements to get there.

"I found out yesterday, and I told my dad, and he was saying how he's already planning the trip out there," the 22-year-old center said. "He's pretty excited, and my whole family is pumped up."

Couture played 25 games for the Sharks in the 2009-10 season -- the maximum allowed for rookie consideration this year -- before totaling 32 goals and 56 points in 2010-11.

But that extra experience may have cost him votes in competition with Skinner, an 18-year-old, first-year pro who finished with 31 goals and more points than any other rookie, 63.

Grabner, 23, is playing for his third NHL organization and was claimed on waivers in October from the Florida Panthers. He finished the season with 34 goals and 52 points.

Sharks coach Todd Mc Lellan said the entire organization should take pride in Couture's presence as a finalist.

"It's a reward for him having a tremendous year, his commitment to his teammates and to his team," he said. "We've got our fingers crossed now that he can finish it off with a win."

Sharks defense man Ian White was back in the lineup Tuesday and acknowledged earlier that he felt fortunate to have missed only one game after suffering a head injury in the final minute of the first period of Game 1.

"You look across the league at players who sustained similar injuries," he said. "Some guys, it can end their career even, but you see guys missing big chunks of the season, so I feel really lucky to not have sustained much damage."

White was hurt when he was hit from behind by Kings center Jarret Stoll, who was also back in the Los Angeles lineup after serving a one-game suspension.

With White cleared to play, McLellan sat rookie Justin Braun as the Sharks went back to their Game 1 lineup.

Comments (0)