Couture can't wait to leave couch for ice

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

While most teenagers would be content staring at the glare of a television set all day, Logan Couture is anxiously looking at a different kind of light. The light at the end of the tunnel.

When the 67's host the Plymouth Whalers (7:30 p.m.) at the Civic Centre, it will be the last game Couture has to miss in his recovery from mono.

The past 21/2 weeks, he's done more TV watching than he's cared to do.

"I'm feeling a lot better," Couture said after practice yesterday. "I was home (London) for a week and got a lot of rest, sitting on the couch all day. Being off the ice for so long was tough."

Tough on him, tough on his team.

In nine games without their top centre, the 67's are 4-5. But they could be in worse shape.

Before last night's action, their 6-8 record on the season had them three points in front of the East Division's last place Kingston Frontenacs, yet at the same time tied with Oshawa and Peterborough for second place, six points behind the front-running Belleville Bulls.

Just as the Fronts are expected to rise in the standings, Couture believes the 67's will, too.

"It's definitely been hard watching and wishing you could help the team," said Couture, who in pre-season evaluations was listed as the No. 1 prospect in next June's NHL entry draft. "But the guys have really stepped up. We're a lot better than our 6-8 record suggests. We're getting guys healthy, and we could have a great year here."

LIMPING BACK

Limping back to the lineup tonight will be veteran forwards Brett Liscomb and Thomas Kiriakou, both of whom took shots to the foot last weekend.

Still unable to go are winger Pat Daley (charley horse) and rookie Matt Ribeiro, who like Couture was sidelined by mono and is also looking at next Friday's home game against the Kitchener Rangers as a return date.

That the 67's have an unusually long (seven-day) break in their schedule after this evening's showdown with the 8-6 Whalers is a head-scratcher -- especially with some of the interesting running around they have to do later this month when they finish a weekend trip to Sudbury and the Soo and then visit Kingston the following Tuesday -- but it's also serving as a needed recovery period for coach Brian Kilrea's wounded.

"I can suffer one more week without (Couture) when it gives him extra time to get fully healthy," said Kilrea, who will start Brady Morrison in goal against Plymouth. "But I think this is the most important game of the season for us so far. When you don't play for a week, and the other teams are, you can lose ground. You have to get the points when you can."


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