Jared Cowen

Cowen contract talks hit ‘stalemate,’ says Sens asst. GM


Jared Cowen has already missed the first few days of Ottawa’s training camp and, by the sounds of it, he’s in line to miss many more.

That’s what Senators assistant GM Tim Murray told the Ottawa Sun on Friday, saying talks between the club and Cowen, the prized RFA defenseman, have stalled.

“We both made proposals a day apart. They turned down ours and we turned down theirs. I guess we’re at a stalemate,” Murray explained. “We’ve talked a lot. I have to say we’ve closed the gap a little bit but it seems to me we’re at a stalemate.”

The Cowen negotiations have been acrimonious for a while.

Last week, reports from the Sun claimed Ottawa tabled an eight-year, $28 million deal similar to the one Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic (seven years, $28 million) signed in July.

It seemed as though Ottawa wanted to lock up Cowen for as long as possible, to avoid him going to arbitration (he has rights next year) or losing him as a UFA.

While intriguing, a long-term deal failed to gain traction and now appears off the table.

The new focus is on a four-year pact.

Here’s more, from the Sun:

While Murray and Cowen’s agent Rick Valette held talks as recently as Tuesday, neither is willing to budge. Sources told the Sun the Senators have offered Cowen a four-year, $11.2 million deal while he is seeking $12.2-to-$12.6 million on the same term.

“They felt they were leaving too much money on the table,” said Murray. “We’ve been talking four year deals. I have no problem saying that.

“Four year deals is fair to both sides. He gets to establish himself as a top player.”

Murray added he doesn’t “know what [Valette] is thinking on this,” and that “it has taken us two months to get in the same stratosphere on a four-year deal.”

Cowen — a towering presence at 6-foot-5, 230-pounds — missed almost all of last year recovering from hip surgery, part of why he’s yet to cement himself as a “top player.”

The hulking rearguard did play all 82 games in 2011-12 (his rookie campaign) scoring 5G-12A-17PTS while leading all Sens defensemen in hits.

In the ’12 postseason he upped the ante in a seven-game loss to the Rangers, leading all skaters with 28 hits.

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
Leave a comment

Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Leave a comment

Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…