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Sean Couturier left out 34 days after being named captain
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers take on the Maple Leafs. Both teams are currently in the playoff picture.

The Maple Leafs are fairly certain of qualifying, but that’s not the case for the Flyers, who are in third place in their division. They are one point ahead of the Capitals (the last club to qualify for the playoffs), who have a game in hand on the Flyers.

In short, it’s a tight race.

To face the Maple Leafs at home, the Flyers will have to cope without Sean Couturier. The veteran Flyer has confirmed that he will not play tonight’s game.

He also confirmed that he will be able to play. He’s healthy scratch.

So John Tortorella has decided to bench his best defensive forward on a night when Auston Matthews is in town and the Flyers have the final change. It’s certainly a bold decision.

But what strikes me is that Couturier, only 34 days ago, was named captain of his team. It’s a good thing the Habs didn’t do that with Nick Suzuki, because…

The forward’s situation is increasingly nebulous. Why name a player captain if you’re going to leave him out the next month? Isn’t that special?

A few weeks ago, my colleague Max Truman put in a good word for him. His observation? His use is less and less important during matches. Clearly, he was onto something.

After all, a veteran like him isn’t left out after just one offense. The coach must have a lot on his mind to make such an important decision in March, in a playoff race.

As our colleague Truman said, Couturier’s time in the NHL may be coming to an end. His injuries seem to be taking their toll, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him buy a house on Robidas Island.

At $7.75 million a year until 2030, he’ll probably have a big shack on the island.

But the question I have is this: if his contract is a burden and the coach doesn’t know how to use him anymore, what prompted the Flyers to make him captain? That’s the part I don’t understand.

In gusto

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