BUFFALO – Sabres center Dylan Cozens said he has learned his lesson.
In the future, don’t expect to see him picking fights with heavyweights like he did as frustration overwhelmed him late in Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It probably won’t happen like that again,” Cozens said Wednesday after returning to practice in KeyBank Center wearing a full face shield.
Cozens, 22, also sported protection over his nose, which likely means it’s broken, and a black left eye after his ill-advised fight with Garnet Hathaway, one of the NHL’s top bruisers.
“The situation probably didn’t call for it there,” said Cozens, who slammed a ladder on his way off the ice. “I let my frustration get the best of me. I kind of went after him and it escalated a lot quicker than I had prepared myself for. I think I need to know who I’m going up against and be little smarter next time, for sure. It’s definitely unneeded at the end of a game like that.”
Cozens, who has missed two games, said he plans to play this weekend. The Sabres host the Minnesota Wild on Friday before playing a road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Sabres coach Don Granato said Cozens “jumped in a situation probably quicker than he should have.”
“The way the game was going, Dylan’s an extremely emotional guy,” he said. “There’s a lot of great things to that. That’s why we love him because he plays with such passion and energy. And he just had enough. He just was not happy with our team game, not happy with the situation, and then just went after it without processing that he was even in a fight, I don’t think, against somebody that was capable.
“So, yeah, it’s the energy and passion that is Dylan Cozens, and you love it.”
Cozens said he “didn’t mind” wearing a shield.
“We’ll see after a few days if I still like it,” he said.
In other news, Granato said three injured players – winger Zach Benson, goalie Eric Comrie and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson – skated before Wednesday’s practice.
“They’re all progressing, either right on schedule or ahead of schedule, which is good news,” he said.
Meanwhile, three players – forwards Tyson Jost, JJ Peterka and Alex Tuch – had maintenance days Wednesday.
Granato also said he thinks there will be an opportunity to give rookie forward Matt Savoie his first NHL game this weekend.