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June 13, 2024

Flyers' Sean Couturier reveals he underwent surgery for sports hernia

The Flyers' captain appeared on the latest Nasty Knuckles podcast and mentioned he was rehabbing from offseason surgery before jumping back into training.

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Sean-Couturier-Flyers-Ranger-4.11.24-NHL.jpg Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports

Sean Couturier struggled down the home stretch of the season.

Sean Couturier, much like a good chunk of the Flyers this season, was more banged up down the stretch than initially let on. 

At the top of the latest Nasty Knuckles podcast, uploaded Thursday, the Flyers' captain mentioned to hosts Riley Cote and Derek Settlemyre that he was still in the area to rehab after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. 

"Feeling great now," Couturier said on the show. "About to head back home here this week and start the full training."

Couturier made his return to the Flyers this past season after more than a year and a half away due to multiple back issues and repeated surgeries to correct them. 

Already 30 approaching the 2023-24 campaign, which the Flyers marked as the start of a clear rebuild process, there were concerns as to what type of player Couturier could still be. But about two-thirds of the way through the season, as the Flyers were making a surprise playoff push, he was holding up and at times looked exactly like the Selke-caliber center of old. 

From Game 1 on October 12 at Columbus up to February 10 against Seattle, Couturier had 11 goals and 21 assists (32 points) through 49 games while skating at an average just shy of 20 minutes a night and with a plus-8 rating. 

And with that game against Seattle, a 3-2 Flyers win at home, Couturier went out and netted the game-winner after receiving an earful from head coach John Tortorella on the bench. 

It stood as a show of just how important Couturier was to the team's success, and as the last push to have him named as the Flyers' next captain.

"Oh that was 'F you!' to me, yeah," Tortorella said after that game. "I'm sure it was. So be it. So be it. That's part of it. That's what I like about him though. He's a crusty old pro. He's a huge part of this.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for how he's handled this year after taking two years off, but there's no free passes. We need him terribly in games to be consistent."

Problem was he couldn't almost as soon as the C was put on his chest. 

Couturier struggled over the last third of the season, getting pushed down the lineup and notably scratched for a couple of games at one point, with a game that grew lacking at both ends of the ice and at the worst possible time. 

Over his last 25 games, Couturier had only six assists and no goals, went minus-18, and saw his average ice time dip to 13:54. Simultaneously, the rest of the Flyers were rapidly running out of gas and ultimately lost a hold of their playoff spot in the season's final week and then officially with the Game 82 loss to the Capitals

Part of Couturier's sudden decline could've been chalked up to the long layoff away from the ice finally catching up to him, but with six years still remaining on his contract and with him not getting any younger, it did leave fans with some reason to be concerned exiting a run that just lost all of its steam by the end. 

The reveal of a sports hernia does add some further context to how he and the Flyers fell apart late, but at the same time, it doesn't necessarily clear Couturier from still needing to prove that he can get through a full 82-game season again. 

Couturier touched on a number of topics – from earning the captaincy to the reforging identity of the Flyers, the scratches, and the future – in the full episode of Nasty Knuckles, which you can check out below or over on YouTube HERE.

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