Logan Couture faced off against a familiar face Saturday in the Swiss League.
He played against Sharks teammate Joe Thornton, Couture’s Geneva-Servette beating Jumbo Joe’s Davos club 3-0.
But practice in San Jose certainly isn’t the same as a real game against opposing teams.
"It was fun. I honestly didn’t realize how big he was until I played against him," Couture told ESPN.com via email Monday. "Huge man with great skill. Got to talk to him after. He's enjoying it once again!"
Thornton is in Davos for a second go-round after playing there during the 2004-05 lockout. It stands to reason that when Couture was contemplating his lockout options, the Sharks captain gave the Swiss League a thumbs-up as an option for his younger San Jose teammate.
"Yeah, Jumbo had great things to say about the quality of the league, the living over here and the good people in the organizations," Couture said. "I’ve been here 10 days and have really enjoyed my time. Beautiful country, good hockey and the people involved with Geneva are great; as well as some solid teammates. It’s been a great experience so far."
The Swiss League is a popular destination for North American players. After all, what’s not to like about living in such a beautiful country? Of the 19 North American NHLers who have found work overseas since the lockout began, 10 of them have gone to Switzerland.
"The hockey is pretty good," Couture said. "Some good skill, and the Swiss players can all skate very well."
Some NHL stars have chosen their lockout team in Europe based on acquaintances on the team, but Couture didn’t know any of the players in Geneva before heading over.
Couture has one assist in the two games he’s played so far for his first-place club (Geneva is a perfect 7-0-0 to start the season). He’s trying to get up to speed without having had a camp.
"It's been good for me to get into a rhythm of practicing once again," Couture said. "Since I didn’t go through a training camp or a preseason schedule, it’s been different to jump right into games. I felt better in the second one, and this experience will only help me become more prepared for this season and my future."