Of all the ways for a hockey player to suffer a season-ending injury, it’s pretty clear tying skates was one Ottawa Senators defenceman Jared Cowen didn’t see coming.
Cowen is back in Ottawa after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, a procedure than had him propped up on crutches while he watched locked out teammates skate at the Bell SensPlex Thursday.
The big defenceman, who started the season in Binghamton thanks to the NHL’s labour impasse, only made it into three games before having to pull the plug on his year.
In that game against the Albany Devils, Cowen felt a tweak in his hip while he was rushing to play a puck at the offensive blue line.
He didn’t think much of it at the the time, but his surgeon believes that’s when he did some initial damage. It didn’t bother him much, however, so he hit the ice again.
“I was coming back, I skated three times and I was feeling better, so I didn’t think anything of it, nothing serious,” Cowen said in an interview Thursday. “And then I was tying my skates, I went to stand up and it was back, so I think I tore it then for sure.”
Now, the only game he’s playing is the waiting one.
“It kind of sucks, because (the hip) feels so good and I can’t do anything,” he said. “I saw my surgeon on Monday and he said slow down, don’t do too much, because there’s only two stitches in there holding the labrum in place where it should be.
“So I feel good now, but if I keep doing too much now it’ll feel worse later.”
Cowen is limited to stretching and some light work on the exercise bike. The most important thing for him to do now is keep as much weight off his hip as possible – not an easy task for a 6-foot-5, 230-pound professional athlete.
And he almost certainly won’t be playing any more hockey this season, either.
“It would have to go perfectly well and even faster,” he explained. “You can rush other injuries and get back in, but hips are different. You depend on them so much to skate and play and open up, so I’d have to feel 100 perc net and feel really confident coming back this season.
“But the chances of that are pretty slim.
ALFREDSSON STAYING PUT — FOR NOW
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson won’t be playing in Europe unless the NHL lockout torches the entire season.
“No, I won’t come to that decision until if and when the season is canceled,” he said after skating with the Carleton University Ravens Thursday.
The Senators have confirmed top prospect Mika Zibanejad will stay in North America and play for the Binghamton Senators rather than go to Russia for the World Junior Hockey Championship. Zibanejad scored the tournament-winning goal for Sweden last year.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray explained the decision in an e-mail.
“We feel like keeping Mika here to play in North America is the best decision for his development,” Murray said. “As a young player and person, he’s learning how to play the North American style and continues to progress playing for Luke (Richardson) in Binghamton.
“Our opinion is that the best way to continue his progress towards becoming an impact player with the Senators is to spend the full season here.”
Zibanejad has one goal and six assists in 16 AHL games this season.