What a great day to be a Senators fan. It's hard not to be happy these days when you open your newspaper in the morning and read about another young blue chip defenseman getting a chance in pre-season. It's hard not to get just a little excited when Jared Cowen appears on the roster. The sooner he gets NHL ready, the sooner we can forget about Big Z. It will be a great chance for Sens fans to see what our most recent first rounder can do against the Habs. Although, to be fair, it won't exactly be a great indicator of the NHL for Cowen as he will be facing the same size of boy as he does in the WHL. Cowen should have no problem handling les smurf squad. Either way, its a great day for the organization to be able to throw a kid of this pedigree onto the ice after being relatively shielded by his knee injury. There's a couple of things worth considering when discussing this pre-season game, and yes, we are taking a pre-season game this seriously.
1. With a plethora of puck moving defencemen at their disposal the Senators have been quite open about their lack of a big body presence on the back end....
2. Cowen represents a big body presence on the back end, even if the kid still needs his weight to catch up with his height. Is it possible the kid is getting a look to gauge whether or not the big body d-man is available in house instead of through trade?
3. Relocating those assets that the Senators would have to part with for a big defencemen could, and should be better used on a second line centre.
4. If his knee was really an issue, would the Senators be playing him in an NHL game? I mean, his knee is at shoulder height for the Habs forwards, this could be a big problem! The Senators must think he's fit for battle.
5. The big one, could Cowen be NHL ready?
So now you know where we're headed with this lets see what others have to say:
"We won’t put a time line (on him). We know that he’s going to play this year for Spokane or for us, depending on how quick he heals. From there, we’ll see how it goes." Pierre Dorion Chief of Amateur Scouting, Ottawa Senators
"Jared has proved to play his best hockey on the biggest stage and his draft position would have improved playing the end of the season and the playoffs. Jared did not get the chance to shine at the biggest time of the year. He proved that the previous season." Tim Speltz, G.M. Spokane Chiefs.
So it looks like we got ourselves a kid who has no NHL timetable and who plays his best hockey on a big stage? Sounds like a match made in heaven don't it folks? Let's not get ahead of ourselves here though. Let's be rational and look at this big picture.
1. Would the Senators really be so bold as to place two rookie defensemen on the roster?
2. It would give Cowen and extra year to prove he can dominate in the WHL and at the WJC and give the Sens more eye time on him as well.
3. We have a lot of defencemen as is, who gives?
All things to consider, and now that I've done my best to hype him I guess we have to wait and see how he does in his first NHL game.
Oh - and can we all start learning how to spell this guys name its C-O-W-E-N. Yes that includes you Chris Stevenson, we all saw that, don't think we didn't.