Cowan comes alive

BARRY MACDONALD -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

Let me get this straight: On Dec. 31st, the Los Angeles Kings put Jeff Cowan on waivers. A team headed nowhere fast flushes a player from its roster.

Forgive Jeff for wondering about his hockey future at that point. When you are 30 years old, with a resume that includes 40 goals in 325 games with three different teams, and you get dumped by the freakin' Kings, it would be fair to wonder.

So naturally this NHL journeyman gets rescued from the scrap heap by the Vancouver Canucks, and naturally he evolves into one of the feel-good stories of this feel-good season.

Through his first 23 games with the Canucks he does pretty much what he has done throughout his checkered career. Play a physical role, make the other guys accountable, and be good in the room. Then in the last three games, he goes Pavel Bure.

There is plenty of credit to go around here. Dave Nonis for starters, for giving Cowan a fourth NHL chance. Cowan himself, for taking advantage of the opportunity he has been given. And Alain Vigneault and his coaching staff, for recognizing where he might fit, and with who. Voila, the CCM line is born ... Cowan, Cooke and Morrison. Lightning in a bottle. And a nickname to boot: Cowan the Barbarian.

You may have noticed that after his second goal Tuesday night against Tampa Bay, there was some debris on the ice. An unidentified fan, of the female persuasion we believe, showed her "support" for Cowan but throwing her bra on the ice. Talk about taking Cup fever to a whole new level. Talk about scoring a pair.

It's a great story, but it does have a shelf life. Fame can be fleeting for athletes who deviate from their norm. Jeff Cowan does have a more complete skill set than most tough guys. He can skate, he isn't void of creativity, and as we have seen in the past three games, he can put the biscuit in the basket. He has taken full advantage of this window of opportunity.

The reality is, it won't last. He doesn't need to be reminded of what got him to the NHL in the first place. It wasn't his goal-scoring prowess. It was his commitment to hard work. Plain and simple. As long as he doesn't lose sight of that, he will have a job in the NHL.

Barry Macdonald is co-host of BS in the Morning on the Team 1040 from 6-9 a.m. E-mail Barry at: barry.macdonald@24hrs.ca


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