WITH SAN JOSE SHARKS CENTER LOGAN COUTURE
What was your favorite team when you were growing up?
The Buffalo Sabres. The big year was ’99, obviously, when they went to the final with Dominik Hasek. Even later on, when Daniel Briere was there, and Chris Drury, Jason Pominville, Ryan Miller, those were my teen years when I was a big fan.
Who did you model your game after?
I’m sure if you ask people my age you probably get a common answer: Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman. Watching the Sabres – Chris Drury. I liked Curtis Brown when he played in Buffalo. I liked how gritty he played at both ends of the ice. He played hard.
What did you splurge on after you signed your first NHL contract?
I bought a Ford Escape when I got my signing bonus. Nothing crazy, just a normal car to drive in the winters of Ottawa, where I played junior.
Why do you wear No. 39?
I didn’t have a choice when I first came to training camp with the Sharks. I was given No. 41. All the draft picks get high numbers, and Tom Cavanagh wanted the number when he played in the NHL. So the next year I came to camp, I was given 39. And I played that year, didn’t really get a choice to change it until the following year about halfway through the season, and I just decided I was gonna keep it.
What was your ‘welcome to the NHL’ moment?
I’ll never forget it. We played Saturday night in Worcester when I was in the American League, and coming out for warmup there were probably 50 people in the stands. You could see all the seats in the building. And then the next night, I got called up to the NHL. It might’ve been an afternoon game in Philadelphia. You walk out in the warmup, and the lights are brighter, the music’s louder, and there are about 7,000 people in the stands just for warmup. So it was the eye-opening moment.
What’s your craziest fan interaction?
Sharks fans are pretty normal. I’ve signed a prosthetic leg. It was different.
What’s the hardest thing about being an NHLer?
The constant pressure to perform is tough. You have to be at your best every night or you’re exposed. On the ice, that’s the biggest thing, the constant need to be at your best.
What’s the best thing about being an NHLer?
Just playing hockey for a living, playing hockey every day, getting to go to the rink and be around the guys. It never gets old.
What advice would you give to your 13-year-old self?
At that age I actually quit baseball to focus on hockey. But I loved the game of baseball, so I’d say maybe, “Keep playing baseball a little bit longer.” Everything obviously turned out pretty well, but I miss the game of baseball so much. I wish I could’ve played a little bit longer. I played shortstop and second base.