Suspension comes at bad time for Cowen

Ottawa Senators' Jared Cowen checks Edmonton Oilers Ryan Smyth in front of goaltender Robin Lehner...

Ottawa Senators' Jared Cowen checks Edmonton Oilers Ryan Smyth in front of goaltender Robin Lehner during NHL hockey action at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Saturday October 19,2013. (Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:08 PM ET

OTTAWA - Just as it appeared he was starting to turn his season around, Jared Cowen has suffered yet another setback.

Less than 24 hours before he was suspended two games by the league for a high hit on Buffalo rookie Zemgus Girgensons, the towering Senators defenceman spoke about being happy with his recent play.

And happy with it, he should be.

"I'm starting to feel better physically, able to play like I naturally think I can," Cowen said Tuesday at First Niagara Center after the Senators 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabres. "The last four or five games, I've just felt more free out there, just able to skate the way I usually skate. I think before I felt like I had a hitch in my skate.

"It just gives you confidence to play the way you want to play. Obviously, it's working out for me right now."

While there are a number of reasons for the Senators' inconsistencies through the first 32 games, at or near the top of the list has been the failure of young blue liners Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba to meet expectations.

Cowen, who had major knee and hip surgeries in 2009 and 2012, respectively, admitted he's had a difficult time bouncing back from the latter.


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