Just as in 2011, each week during the 2012 NHL Playoffs the Hockey Edge Blog will choose one player as Mentally Tough Performer of the Week. This is a player that exhibits toughness and performs well under pressure, bounces back after a big mistake, stays positive in the face of adversity, deals with pain and continues to perform, and/or leads with their performance. This player performs at a high level in a tough situation.
There are many deserving candidates in the first week of the NHL Playoffs, but no one is more deserving than Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers. Couturier, a 19-year-old rookie in his first playoffs, is playing a starring role for the Flyers. Couturier has been assigned as the man to mark the league's leading scorer Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins. He has not only stopped Malkin from scoring a goal, but also had a hat trick in Game 2. Philadelphia gave Couturier a very difficult role, one in which most players in the NHL would have not succeeded. At a young age Couturier has the confidence and mental toughness to play a key defensive role and provide offense. Many 19-year-olds are just finishing the first year of college, but Couturier is shutting down world class players on the big stage. A big stage that could have easily froze him.