Jared Cowen may have been handed a two-game suspension by the NHL on Wednesday, but the Senators defenceman is not planning on changing his style of game as a result.
Cowen will miss the next two contests because of his bodycheck on Zemgus Girgensons in the third period of Tuesday's game in Buffalo, in which he made primary contact with the head of the Sabres' forward. Speaking to a small group of reporters on Thursday morning, Cowen said he won't change anything if that situation arises again in the future.
"I'll make that same hit over and over again. Just because I had a hearing or a suspension isn't going to change it," Cowen said. "It is harder to hit small guys when you're taller. You have to get down to come through instead of just coming through because you have to change your levels. It's a little bit harder, but at the same time, I'm not going to change anything."
The 22-year-old defenseman insists that he was not targeting Girgenson's head on the play and that if he stops playing with that physical edge, he won't be as effective on the ice.
"No, I wouldn't do anything differently. If I don't make that hit, I don't play and I don't play well," Cowen added. "Maybe I move a little bit to the left an inch or two and that's the difference. That's all that it was."
"I made a lot of hits in this league before and it's the first time it's ever been under question. One in a thousand hits is going to be bad or whatever you want to call it. I was making the intention to make a full body contact check and I guess I got a piece of his head."
Cowen was under some scrutiny a couple of weeks ago for an errant elbow that caught the head of Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, who was forced to miss several games with a concussion. The Sens defenseman says the league never mentioned his past incident with Datsyuk when doling out this two-game suspension.
"It was never brought up that this was in relation to that one or that I'm on some sort of list now. I think they're not related at all," Cowen explained. "The Datsyuk one was totally reactional and accidental. This one was more of a missed hit or whatever you want to call it. I hope they weren't considering the Datsyuk thing at all because that wouldn't make sense."
During his phone hearing with the NHL department of player safety, Cowen argued that the play was not called a penalty on the ice and that Girgensons was not even injured as a result of the hit. In fact, the young Sabres forward immediately got up from the ice and charged towards Cowen.
"He didn't say anything, but obviously actions speak louder than words," Cowen said when asked about Girgenson's immediate response. "So obviously he was okay, too because he came after me and he wanted to do something. But I guess he was just faking it."
The timing of the suspension couldn't have been worse for Cowen, who seemed to finally find his groove in the past two or three games. The young defenceman has been plagued by an inconsistent start to the season and appeared to be turning a corner in the past week.
"Playing better and feeling better physically and just getting more into the rhythm, but this shouldn't stop that at all. It's one of those things I can't control. It shouldn't hinder me when I get back out there. Just stay skating and stay in good shape."