From Official Toronto Maple Leafs
Jared Cowen spoke to the media in Edmonton on Wednesday following his first practice as a member of the Maple Leafs. Here’s what he had to say…
Do you ever look back and think about being drafted by Ottawa and potentially how close you were to being drafted by the Leafs?
No, actually I hadn’t thought about that but thinking back it was close. The picks were really close and I had a couple of meetings with Toronto so I could have just as easily come here. Now I’m here so it’s no difference now.
On the opportunity to play in a Canadian market:
When I was drafted to Ottawa I was really happy I was in Canada and still am. It’s nice to be in Canada where hockey is popular and a big deal, I’m excited.
On the opportunity to get back on track:
I’m happy I’m here, a fresh start, this is what I wanted. I wanted to be somewhere else, there’s a good coaching staff, I know they’re going to win here eventually so that’s the plan and that’s why I’m here.
What was your reaction to the deal?
Surprised it was Toronto, I didn’t think these two teams talked ever. Happy I’m here though, I knew it was going to come. I just didn’t — it happens anyways but it’s always a surprise. I’m glad it’s over and I’m ready to move on.
What stands out to you about Coach Babcock?
I kind of know Mike just from him being from Saskatchewan and he was in Spokane so I know kind of his style from Bill Peters, they’re similar. I know he’s very direct and honest and he’s obviously got a good track record so I’m happy to be here and hopefully he can help me out with my game too.
How much have your injuries hurt your progression?
I’ve had a tough go here with injuries over a couple of years. I’m just trying to move on from those and get healthy enough to where they’re not affecting me anymore because they’ve been a bit of a hitch in my step for a while here. I think once I get past that and keep getting better here in the season and the offseason, keep getting better. That’s my goal right now is to kind of rehab right now and move on.
How good does it feel to get a fresh start?
That’s kind of what I was thinking of when I got traded is it’s a nice fresh start and kind of flush whatever has happened in Ottawa. Move on, just be a new player so to speak. It’s exciting.
What’s your confidence level like?
I was thinking yesterday I just want to get in a game and play. That’s the easiest way to move on and get going. Otherwise you start to think about things too much. The more I’m on the ice, the better I think I’ll feel.
On changing sides between Ontario teams:
It was very unexpected, I can’t remember the last time these two teams made a trade. It’s unusual but I think we play Ottawa twice the rest of the season so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.
What was it like to be in Ottawa with all those Leafs sweaters in the crowd?
It’s annoying — it’s tough playing Montreal and Toronto, there was always fans on the road so it feels like a couple less home games and a couple more road games. It’s interesting. It’s a great fanbase here and it’s exciting to be a part of it.
How was the first practice with the Leafs?
A little rough, a little nervous. It’s to be expected though, I didn’t get to skate yesterday. I was about to go on the ice and I got pulled off because of the trade. I feel better and better, it’s just getting the nerves out and keep going.
When you got called off were you thinking Toronto was the last place you’d be headed?
Yeah, I wasn’t even on the ice yet, I was just getting my top gear on and they kind of gave me the old wave over and I found out it was Toronto. I was really surprised but I’m not disappointed whatsoever, that’s not what I mean. Just surprised that Ottawa and Toronto made a trade, that’s all.