After Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Buffalo, Ottawa Senators defenceman Jared Cowen was asked if he expected Zemgus Girgensons to be seeking revenge when the teams played again on Thursday night in Ottawa.
At 18:03 of the third period, Cowen hit Girgensons in the head with his left shoulder. No penalty was called and Girgensons remained in the game, but Cowen expected retaliation.
“Yup,” he said. “It’ll be interesting. No worries.”
But Girgensons will have to wait. The NHL got to Cowen first, suspending him for two games for that illegal check to the head.
The NHL Department of Player Safety said Cowen made Girgensons’s head the main point of contact, noting that it was not a full bodycheck in which contact to the head was incidental. Though Cowen kept his elbow tucked, said the NHL, he took an “improper angle of approach.”
The two-game suspension will cost Cowen, who had never previously been fined or suspended, $31,794.88. He’ll be eligible to return Monday against the St. Louis Blues.
With Cowen’s suspension, the Senators are down to six defencemen, which means that one will likely be recalled from Binghamton as insurance.
Cowen’s game had been improving after a difficult start to the season, which culminated in him sitting as a healthy scratch at the end of November.
He has three goals, three assists and 22 penalty minutes while averaging 18:57 of ice time in 31 games this season.
HOFFMAN BACK TO BINGO
After being scratched for the last two games, forward Mike Hoffman was returned to Binghamton on Wednesday.
That leaves the Ottawa Senators with 12 forwards.
Hoffman’s recall was greeted with enthusiasm just a week ago, and the second-leading scorer in the American Hockey League quickly found himself in heady company on a line with Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan.
It didn’t last long, though.
In two games on a swing through Florida, Hoffman didn’t do anything with almost 14 minutes of ice time in each game and was minus-2 in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
That earned him a quick fall from grace. He played only 4:57 in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Has he used up his last, best chance for a shot at the NHL?
He’s only 24, so that’s certainly premature.
But the Senators have apparently decided that — for now, anyway — while Hoffman may be too good for the AHL, he’s not good enough for the NHL.