Cowen to have ‘lower body’ surgery

Jared Cowen won’t be playing hockey anywhere for an extended period.

After sitting out the past three weeks of action with the Binghamton Senators due to an undisclosed “lower body” injury, the Ottawa Senators announced late Monday afternoon that the club’s 6-5, 230-pound defenceman would be undergoing surgery later this week.

While the Senators provided limited details on the nature of the surgery – the official word was that he “will require a surgical procedure” — there is a possibility that it could be season-ending.

If there’s any bright light whatsoever from what will likely be a long rehabilitation, the injury isn’t believed to be to his right knee. Cowen had ACL surgery while playing for the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League in 2008-09, the main reason why he slipped in the entry draft. The Senators eventually selected him ninth overall.

Cowen, 21, was coming off an outstanding rookie season with the Senators in 2011-12, when he scored five goals and 12 assists in a full 82 games. Cowen and Norris Trophy winning defenceman Erik Karlsson are expected to a major part of the Senators’ long-term future on defence. He spent the majority of the season as one of the club’s top four defencemen.

Suddenly, though, Cowen’s career is on hold.

Sent to Binghamton for the duration of the NHL lockout because he’s still on his three-year entry level contract, Cowen played in Binghamton’s first three games this season, registering three assists. His final game came on Oct. 19 and he has sat out the past eight games. According to the press release from the Senators, Cowen consulted a specialist who recommended surgery.

The 6-5, 230-pound defenceman, who scored five goals and 12 assists in an impressive rookie season in 2011-12, had been assigned to Binghamton for the duration of the lockout because he is in the second season of his three-year entry level contract with the organization.

The Senators also said they would have no further comment on Cowen’s status until surgery is complete. It’s expected to take place later this week.

In an interview with the Citizen last Thursday, Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray acknowledged they were going to be extremely careful before rushing Cowen back into the lineup. At the time, there was concern that if Cowen returned too soon, he could risk causing additional damage.

“He’s a big part of our organization,” Murray said.

“Whether he’s 70 per cent or 60 per cent or 80 per cent, we’re not going to rush him. We feel we have enough players down there (in Binghamton) that can play and he has already proven that he’s an NHL player. We’re not going to jeopardize him playing long-term by playing him right now.”

If the NHL lockout ends, the Senators will have a tough job filling the void left by Cowen’s absence. AHL veteran Andre Benoit, who now serves as Binghamton’s captain, could receive an opportunity to play in the big leagues for an extended period. Rugged Mark Borowiecki, who was expected to battle for a depth spot on the blueline, could receive a chance to play every day with the Senators. Patrick Wiercioch, who has had a solid start to his third AHL season with Binghamton, will also get a long look.

 

Tags:

What do you think? Leave a comment