Cowen 'ready' for the most important season of his career

by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)

This past week saw training camp begin for Ottawa Senators players, and while most returned with fond memories of the 2014-2015 season, some arrived hoping to forget it entirely. Among those in the latter group is Jared Cowen, a first-round draft pick who was expected to be a dominant force on the Senators blueline. Unfortunately, the towering defenseman hasn't yet lived up to expectations, causing some to speculate that this upcoming season could end up being his last in the NHL. I caught up with Cowen (and his beautiful, new man bun) to ask what he is doing to prepare for the most important season of his career.

Rob Poirier: Hi, Jared. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.

Jared Cowen: No problem.

RP: Jared, I think it goes without saying that what happens this season will determine your future in this league. What I want to know is: do you feel like you're ready to turn things around?

JC: Absolutely. I've been making strides all summer, and I am excited to go out there and really prove where I belong.

RP: In order to do that, Bryan Murray said that you will need to decide what kind of player you want to be. Do you feel like you've made that decision yet?

JC: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’m a big guy and I have to use my size to create space. I feel like I had some success doing that last year. I got body position on guys and ended up sitting right at the front of the press box almost every game. I'm ready to do that again.

RP: Speaking of the press box, you were scratched for 34 games last season, including every playoff game. Is there anything you can do to make sure that doesn't happen again? 

JC: I don't think so. I'm pretty good about letting go of things that I can't control, and this is just another one of those things. It's like when a couple of guys are jamming away at the puck in our crease... is there anything I should be doing about something like that? Don't think so. Why waste the energy, you know?

RP: Let's talk a little more about last season. Given that you hadn't played in quite awhile, people were surprised to learn that you had suffered an injury. Can you explain what happened?

JC: Sure. It's something that most young players go through. You push yourself a little too hard, try to do a little too much. What happened was, they brought this big platter of Golden Palace egg rolls into the box one day and I just grabbed the whole thing and tried to run back to my seat with them. That was my mistake. I'm learning to take it one roll at a time.

@Gerv_Rebrand obtained this still from the security footage

RP: You're going to have the opportunity to start with a clean slate this season. What are some of the things you’re doing to make sure things will be different?

JC: Oh, uh... working out, eating right... whatever it is that guys usually say. Actually, I have been spending a lot of time with the staff. Not, like, the training staff or anything, but the actual arena staff. The stools they had in the press box last year were garbage. Too hard. I told them: "if I’m going to be sitting up there for 2 or 3 hours a night, you’ve got to get me something softer". And I'm happy to report that it was worked into the budget as part of this summer's renovations. This season is going to be different for sure. 

RP: Jared, the Senators are carrying seven defensemen right now, and most people expect Chris Wideman to challenge for a spot as well. As difficult as it is to see a teammate go down with injury, did you maybe feel a little bit of relief when you learned that Chris Phillips wouldn't be ready for training camp?

JC: No! Of course not! I mean, why would you ask me that? What do you think, that I decided I'd be more likely to crack the lineup if I spent the summer researching the dark arts rather than training? That I offered up a piece of my own soul to the ageless ones in order to ensure that I wouldn't be a healthy scratch again? Who told you that?? You guys haven't been going through my bags, have you??

Yes, @Gerv_Rebrand went through his bags

RP: Thanks for doing this, Jared. Good luck in the upcoming season.

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