While the word setback wasn’t used, it sure seems like that’s what John Tortorella suggested when speaking about Sean Couturier today. He told reporters including Giana Han of the Philadelphia Inquirer that Couturier is “just not ready” to continue his rehab and has stopped skating for the time being. As Jordan Hall of NBCS Philly points out, the veteran forward recently said he was feeling good in his recovery while getting on the ice.
Couturier is not close to returning. Meanwhile, Cam Atkinson is “one frustrated young man,” who isn’t expected to be back anytime soon.
This will sound like the same old song and dance for Flyers fans who have lived in a world of injury setbacks and additional surgeries over the past few years. Ryan Ellis, last year’s offseason prize, played just three games for Philadelphia before ending up on the shelf, and then just one more before being shut down for the year. He hasn’t played at all this season.
Kevin Hayes underwent several surgeries to correct multiple issues and ended up playing in just 48 games. Even Nolan Patrick, the high draft pick that was supposed to help usher in a new era of Flyers hockey, could never get over his migraine and concussion issues to stay in the lineup on a consistent basis.
Couturier, arguably the team’s most important forward, only played 29 games last year. Despite his obvious injury concerns, the team signed him to an eight-year, $62MM contract extension in August 2021 – one that he is only just starting this season. The deal carries a cap hit of $7.75MM through 2029-30. Already 29, Couturier will turn 30 in December and now hasn’t played a full season in several years.
Hopefully, this setback only means that it will take him a little longer to return from his back injury. But with whispers in September of him missing the entire season because of the potential need for surgery, and now keeping him off the ice, there are bad vibes coming out of Philadelphia.
So much for getting our wish of seeing him in the Selke conversation this season. Hopefully, he can get this mess settled, somehow, whether through rehab or surgery.
The Broad Street Bullied.