Cowan, Canucks win it on a weird one
Canucks 2, Ducks 1 (2OT)
Series tied 1-1
It was a bizarre way to close out a fairly sleepy game, as a little Sedin-like game of cycle the puck between Trevor Linden and Cowan ended in an impossible-angle shot that somehow squeezed between J-S Giguere's right skate and the post.
Cowan's a bizarre case study of a prototypical castoff: Never drafted, undersized out of junior and not much of a fighter, the kid from Scarborough reinvented himself as a plugger and puncher in his third pro season with the Saint John Flames (at age 22, no less) and managed to catch on with the big-league Flames soon after.
Dealt to the then expansion-awful Thrashers in December, 2001, Cowan was one of coach Curt Fraser's bangers and picked up 233 PIMs in 162 games, putting him in near-goon territory.
Something funny happened post-Fraser, however, as the now-improving club put Cowan in a bit more of an offensive role in 2003-04, and he responded with nine goals and 24 points in 58 games, nearly outpointing his previous five NHL seasons combined.
That showing won him a trade to the Los Angeles Kings, where he'd been wallowing on line four, playing about eight minutes a night up until the Canucks claimed him on waivers the day before New Year's Eve, 2006.
GM Dave Nonis was essentially looking for a warm body, one who came with a bit of an arsenal — and not one that involved a stick and puck. And 23 games into life in Vancouver, Cowan barely showed a pulse, producing a statline that included zero goals, zero assists, -3, 35 PIM and an average of five minutes ice time a night.
Game No. 24, however, things changed. Cowan potted a short-handed goal — his first tally of the year and first in 53 games (it's hard to score from the bench or the box) — and squared off against Phoenix tough guy Josh Gratton. Over the next three games, Cowan would net five more goals on a team oh-so-desperate for scoring, and when one lusty fan tossed a brassiere on the ice during this string, the legend-starved Vancouver fans spun up a few nicknames for the local hero.
And Cowan the Brabarian was born.
Cowan's been rather quiet since that one, short-lived outburst during the season, but now he's 2-for-2 in this series against the Ducks, the team's top scoring threat given that the Sedin twins haven't been seen since Chris Pronger stepped on the ice to start Round 2.
And the Canucks keep winning games they have no business being in, getting scoring from players they never intended to be putting pucks in the net.
If he isn't already, Nonis should be playing the lottery.