We’ve just got to wait it out
We’ve just got to wait it outin Deutsch in Medien und Literatur 14.08.2018 05:36
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Even the simplest of tasks like breathing and eating were painstakingly difficult for Logan Couture heading into the playoffs a year ago.
An errant puck had shattered his face and the injuries hampered Couture during San Jose’s first-round loss to Edmonton. They weren’t fully healed until the summer. The Sharks are counting heavily on a now healthy Couture to anchor a long playoff run this year starting Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round series at Anaheim.
”It was tough Joe Namath Jersey Youth ,” Couture said about playing through the injury a year ago. ”It was very difficult. I went from playing to not knowing if I would be playing in the playoffs. The injury, it affected my life more than hockey. It was difficult just waking up and dealing with day to day stuff. But I’m happy, happy to be healthy.”
Couture was hit in the mouth a year ago by a shot from teammate Brent Burns and missed the final seven games of the regular season with two fractures in his face. He came back for the playoffs with plastic and wiring to keep his teeth in place and played all six games, scoring two goals in a Game 4 victory, but he was far from his usual self.
Couture was a main factor in San Jose’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, leading the NHL with 30 points that postseason before the Sharks lost in six games to Pittsburgh. He’s hoping for the same type of spring this year.
”That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey,” he said. ”Just a blast to go to the rink every day. That was a special group that we had that year. It’s different each year obviously when personnel changes. I think about that run quite a bit, just how much fun it was. Just hoping to relive it.”
As well as he played during that run, Couture might be at his peak heading into this year’s playoffs after scoring a career-high 34 goals this season, posting 61 points and having the usual responsibility of trying to slow down the opponent’s top scoring line.
That performance helped the Sharks overcome the loss of Patrick Marleau to free agency last summer and Joe Thornton to a knee injury in January and helped Couture win the team’s MVP award, although he has loftier goals still in mind.
”I’ve felt good. The puck’s gone in for me. That’s the big thing. Just capitalized on opportunities. Scoring 34 goals is pretty cool. Definitely to be up in the top 20 in goal scorers in this league, in the best league in the world, is special for sure,” Couture said.
”The season’s not over. Obviously the goal for myself, and as well as our team, is to win it all. It’s tough to say it’s been a successful year until the year’s done.”
Couture will have plenty of responsibility this series to make sure the season doesn’t end too soon.
He’ll be a main part of the top power-play unit Walter Payton Jersey Youth , one of the team’s most important penalty killers, tasked with slowing down Ryan Getzlaf’s line and provide offense of his own.
”The one thing about Logan is he has the ability to raise his level in important moments, in important times of the year as he’s shown in my time here,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”I expect the same thing. I think we kind of take it for granted but that’s what he is. He’s a great player and he has that ability.”
NOTES: DeBoer would not rule Thornton out for the series, saying only he wouldn’t play Game 1. … Eric Fehr and Melker Karlsson, who missed time late in the season, worked on the fourth line at practice Tuesday.
Drew Brees hardly sounds like a man in denial.
Following the first practice of his 18th training camp on Thursday, the 39-year-old Saints quarterback openly acknowledged how little might be left of his career. But he also expressed a determination to make the most of it.
”I understand that I don’t have a whole lot of time left,” said Brees, who’ll be 40 in January and whose contract expires after the 2019 season. ”You’ve got to work and have high expectations and sacrifice and do maybe even more now than I ever have.”
Brees figures wisdom and experience have improved his game mentally in ways that mitigate the physical effects of aging, but that’s not what he attributes most to his longevity.
He considers the single most significant evolution in his game over the past half-decade to be his increased emphasis on throwing mechanics – the placement of his feet, the rotation of his torso, the angle of his arm motion, the point at which he releases the ball, and so forth.
Brees regurgitates odd-sounding terminology he’s learned from reputed throwing guru Tom House, such as ”ankle eye Sean Lee Cowboys Jersey ,” meant to convey the idea that if the inside ankle of a thrower’s push-off leg had an eye, it should be ”looking” toward the target.
”I didn’t think a whole lot about mechanics until about six years ago. I think I was just kind of a natural thrower. Like, I’d always been a pitcher in baseball, or shortstop,” Brees said. ”So you kind of reach a point where that’s so second-nature that you just do it, and yet you don’t really understand the elements of why are you able to get velocity, or the components that go into being an efficient thrower and being really accurate.
”As you get older, you begin to develop more of an appreciation for that,” Brees continued. ”Your physical skills begin to diminish, right? But you want to make those things repeatable and correctable if you do get off track. So, I’d say I’ve become more in tune with my mechanics.”
It was hard to argue with the results during team drills Thursday, when Brees heaved a pinpoint pass over the top of the secondary to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith for a touchdown covering about 60 yards.
But when Brees misses a throw, he says he knows ”exactly why I missed it,” giving various examples of what might have gone wrong. ”My feet were out of whack. Or, I didn’t get proper rotation, or I let my (non-throwing) arm get outside the framework of my body; I didn’t stay closed long enough. I didn’t have my front shoulder down. I didn’t have my ankle eye” facing the target.
In 2011 Eli Manning Jersey Youth , when Brees was 32, his 5,476 yards passing set a single-season NFL record eclipsed only once since, when Denver’s Peyton Manning passed for one yard more in 2013.
Last season, Brees passed for 4,334 yards, his lowest total in 12 seasons with the Saints. Yet, Brees also reclaimed the NFL record for single-season accuracy with a 72 percent completion rate, topping his previous high of 71.2 in 2011, which was an NFL record until it fell to Sam Bradford (71.6) in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Saints were back in the playoffs last season, bolstered by a strong running game and improved defense. So Brees didn’t see his 2017 yards passing total as a harbinger of decline.
The success of the running game ”allowed us to stay more committed to it,” Brees said.
And with a better defense, ”we didn’t have to take as many chances offensively and have to throw the ball – push the ball down the field,” Brees continued. ”Those are all good things.”
Brees still talks of playing as long as possible, but eschews bold predictions about lasting into his mid-40s or beyond Derick Brassard Penguins Jersey , unlike New England’s Tom Brady .
And what about family? Brees has four children younger than 10, but says he doesn’t see his desire to be involved in their lives as a detriment to his football career. Rather, he contends, it makes him more focused when he is at Saints headquarters.
”I have to be able to leave this facility and go be with my family, be with my wife, be with my kids. They help balance me out,” Brees said. ”That enjoyment in my life helps me be a better football player and it also forces me when I’m here to be as efficient as possible, because I know now my time can’t run over. I can’t say, `Oh, I’ll stay an extra hour.’ No. I have to get my work done by this time, so I get home and read my kids a book before they go to bed – or else I miss that opportunity and then that eats at me and then it throws off my balance.”
Of course, good balance helps with throwing – for Brees, in more ways than one.
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