Jared Cowen

Sens asst. GM says ‘we can weather the storm’ as Cowen negotiations drag


Another day, another restricted free agent twisting in the wind.

This time, it’s Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen, who’s without a contract six days from the start of training camp and now appears unlikely to report when the Sens take to the ice next Wednesday.

“We’d love to have him in camp, but we played a lot of games without him last year,” Sens assistant GM Tim Murray told Ottawa’s Team 1200 on Thursday. “We can weather the storm.”

For more on where the two sides sit with regards to financial compensation, here’s Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

The Senators and Cowen’s camp have looked at every scenario, but a one-year deal has been ruled out.

As reported by the Sun, the Senators tabled an eight-year, $28-million deal with a cap hit of $3.5 million per season. The two sides also talked about the seven-year, $28-million deal signed by Travis Hamonic of the Isles.

Sources say Cowen’s camp never officially turned down the eight-year deal. It remains on the table, but it’s not going to get the deal done and it’s doubtful this will be a long-term contract in the end.

Garrioch also adds a one-year deal is out of the question. Ottawa sounds determined to try and lock in Cowen long-term, especially since he’ll be eligible for arbitration rights if he signs a short-term or “bridge” deal.

Cowen — a towering presence at 6-foot-5, 230-pounds — missed almost all of last year recovering from hip surgery, as Murray alluded to. The hulking rearguard did play all 82 games in 2011-12 (his rookie campaign) scoring 5G-12A-17PTS.

Cowen also led all Sens defensemen in hits during that season, then upped the ante in a seven-game playoff loss to the Rangers, leading all skaters with 28 hits.

Murray indicated there’s been little recent movement from either side in terms of reaching a new deal. Garrioch reports they haven’t talked since last week.

“It’s a process,” Murray explained. “There’s really no progress because we’re a little bit far apart.”

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs

Leave a comment

Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
Leave a comment

Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 30-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury

Report: Jets offered Byfuglien for Hamonic, Isles said no

Dustin Byfuglien

If Travis Hamonic could choose one team to be traded to, he’d probably choose Winnipeg. The 25-year-old Islanders defenseman wants to be closer to his family, and his family is from Manitoba. Hamonic already owns a condo in Winnipeg.

So far, though, the Jets and Islanders haven’t been able to work out a deal. The Jets have three right-shot defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers who could, theoretically, be swapped for Hamonic, also a right shot.

“I think the Islanders were offered Byfuglien and they said no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 (audio), per Today’s Slapshot. “And I understand why, because Byfuglien’s got no term left.

“I think they’d love to have Trouba, but the Jets aren’t really there to do it. Myers, if it’s happened – I can’t say for sure it has or hasn’t – I’m not sure that’s the deal either team really wants to make, to be perfectly honest.”

Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s expected to cash in big-time on his next deal. The 30-year-old may not be the most disciplined player, but at his best, he’s an absolute force on the back end.

That the Isles reportedly said no to Byfuglien shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given his contract uncertainty. However, it does make one wonder about his future in Winnipeg. Remember that the salary cap is not expected to go up by much, and the Jets have another pending UFA in captain Andrew Ladd, plus a couple of key RFAs in Trouba and Mark Scheifele.

While it’s never easy to tell what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking, the big question with Byfuglien and the Jets may end up being when, not if, they part ways. Will it be after the season or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline?

Preds still haven’t found their scoring touch

Mike Fisher

The Nashville Predators got off to a relatively good start this season, but something seems to have happened to their offense over the last six games.

Prior to Nov. 20, the Preds had only been shut out once in their first 17 games. Since then, they’ve been blanked three times and have just six goals in their last six contests.

If you remove Mike Fisher from the equation, the numbers are even more dreadful.

Fisher’s scored three of those six goals, while Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have none.

After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo , here’s what coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean: “I thought we could’ve had more gas, to be honest with you. The energy just wasn’t there; maybe the second period had something to do with that or the road trip, which was a long trip. I’m not making any excuses, but I think when we play at a higher tempo that’s when we’re at our best, and we had more to push in that area tonight.”

The first game back home after a long road trip is typically a difficult one for most teams, so we’ll see how the Predators respond on Tuesday night when they host Arizona.