VANCOUVER -- As seasons go, this hasn't been the best for Jeff Cowan.
The Vancouver Canucks forward, and former Flame, went into last night's clash with only one assist in 42 outings.
However, the rugged left winger received a boost during the Coach's Corner segment Saturday night when Don Cherry lauded his "courage" while sticking up for teammate Kevin Bieksa and fighting Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard in a game last week.
"I want that guy in the trenches," Cherry said as he noted how much size Cowan gives to the Minny behemoth.
"I didn't see it but some of the guys were telling me about it," Cowan said after yesterday's morning skate. "I appreciate everything he says. It's an honour for somebody to recognize what I did out there and my work ethic on the ice. It's nice to hear that.
"Those guys who work hard, grind it out, get their noses dirty, that kind of stuff, he recognizes them."
Cowan dropped the gloves with Boogaard and lost a one-sided bout, but once again proved he's game to step in with the hopes of energizing his team.
He was also quick to point out the shiner he was sporting on his left eye wasn't from the scrap.
"It's actually from a puck in warm-up that game," he said. "Right off the crossbar and into my face. The game didn't start out too well for me. I had a big welt over my eye before it even started.
"He didn't catch me with any (punches), luckily."
It wasn't the first time Cherry has praised Cowan. While he was with the Flames, Cowan scored a highlight-reel goal and Cherry showed it as he pointed out Cowan worked his way from the ECHL to the bigs without an easy road.
"I remember it, it's probably one of my best goals," said Cowan.
"It's been a long road, playing in the East Coast Hockey League, grinding it out, but I think it makes you stronger as a person, as an individual. It's made me stronger and a better player."