When the Ottawa Senators regular season ended on April 9th and the AHL playoff eligible players were returned to Binghamton for their postseason push, I have to admit, unlike some other Sens fans, I wasn't too caught up with their playoff push. Don't get me wrong, it's important for the development of the young players to play in some meaningful games and have some success early in their professional careers. However, it's not like I was ever really concerned with the compete level of players like Erik Condra, Zavh Smith, Bobby Butler or Colin Greening since none of whom -- with the possible exception of Butler -- are ever expected to be frontline players for the Ottawa Senators. It didn't help that Ottawa's best prospect on the Bingo roster was relegated to backup duties behind Barry Brust, however, when the B-Sens were down 3-1 in their first round series against Manchester, my attitude changed completely.
Since that time, Lehner's put together a 5-game winning streak that capped the first round comeback over the Monarchs and staked Bingo to a 2-0 series lead in their second round matchup against Portland. Although Lehner and the B-Sens lost game three, the development, experience and success that the "goaltender of the future" is having right now is indispensable and impressive considering that injuries have contributed to a precariously thin blueline.
It's in light of these injuries that I look at the Spokane Chiefs WHL playoff status and wonder what's in store for Senators prospect Jared Cowen. Down by a margin of 3 games to 2, the Chiefs could be eliminated from the WHL Western Conference Finals tonight with a loss to the Portland Winterhawks.
It's been quite the season for Cowen and his Chiefs, a team that was picked by pundits to finish near the bottom of the standings.
“We were picked to be last and look where we are now,” offered defenseman Jared Cowen. “People didn’t think we were going to be very good, and none of us really forgot that all year.
“We’ve kept it in the back of our heads, even now.”
“I’d like to think I’m the kind of player who elevates his game at playoff time,” he said. “I guess every player does. There’s no excuses to play bad, for sure, if you’re that much closer to winning it all. I’ve won before and I want to do it again, for the rest of the guys who haven’t.” ~ Jared Cowen via The Spokesman ReviewHow do you like that nails quote from Cowen that exemplifies the kind of leadership that Ottawa brass loves? Not only has he noticeably elevated his game in the playoffs, he sounds like he's the kind of guy who's "good in the room". Regardless of tonight's outcome, it sounds like Cowen's development is headed in the right direction... however, I'd love to see this blue-chipper get the opportunity to play in some meaningful professional games and address one of Bingo's weaknesses.
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