Jared Cowen

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

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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.

Vigneault will be behind the Rangers’ bench in 2016-17

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault runs a practice at NHL hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Greenburgh N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Associated Press
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The New York Rangers may have been bounced in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs, but they aren’t looking to make a coaching change. In a phone interview with Montreal’s LaPresse newspaper, Alain Vigneault confirmed that he’ll be back behind the Rangers’ bench next season.

“I’ve had discussions with the club’s front office and they told me that they wanted me to come back next season,” Vigneault told LaPresse (quotes have been translated by PHT).

Vigneault and Rangers management will meet in Palm Springs next week to discuss what went wrong in 2015-16.

Even though the season didn’t go the way the Rangers had hoped, Vigneault insists he was never worried about losing his job.

“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” Vigneault said of the rumors surrounding his job security. “There’s 82 games in a season plus the playoffs and you can’t start thinking about your fate after each game. After a loss, you forget it and start thinking about the adjustments you need to make. In regards to our situation, we still managed to pick up 101 points this season. That’s a good season, but we still expected more from our team in the playoffs.”

Like every off-season, there will be changes, but Vigneault isn’t expecting any major ones.

“There’s definitely going to be changes. I don’t know if there’ll be big changes because today, it’s hard to make big changes. With the salary cap, it’s not realistic to think that way.”

When pressed about potential changes, Vigneault wasn’t willing to elaborate.

Vigneault also touched on the way Dan Boyle went after two reporters at the team’s year-end media availability. It’s safe to say he wasn’t thrilled about the way the whole thing went down.

“It’s a lesson for me and our whole team,” added Vigneault. “It’s disappointing because Dan had a really nice career. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, but all people will remember him for is this incident. What happened with him really surprised us. It’s too bad. I hope people will remember him for the career he had.”

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with one game on Friday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Lightning lead the series 2-1.

Here’s some relevant reading material you might enjoy:

No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

WATCH LIVE: Canada-USA (IIHF World Hockey Championship)

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IIHF.com
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A huge tilt on day one of the World Hockey Championships, as Canada and the USA clash in Russia. You can watch the game online using the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Canada came away with a gold medal in last year’s tournament while the United States took home the bronze. Of course, each team’s roster changes significantly every year.

The USA’s next game is tomorrow against Belarus. Canada will play Sunday against Hungary.

PHT Morning Skate: Canucks prospect Brock Boeser is taking a girl with Down syndrome to prom

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

–Here’s a feel-good story. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser is taking a girl with Down syndrome to prom. (Sportsnet)

–NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire does a lot of traveling during the playoffs. (Sports Illustrated)

–It sounds like ESPN’s Mike Wilbon isn’t a fan of the Coyotes’ latest front office hire. (ESPN)

–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Stars and Blues. (Top)

–Former referee Kerry Fraser wants the old charging rule to make a return. (TSN)

–Hockey is becoming more common in the North Carolina Sports Hall-of-Fame. (Charlotte Observer)

–Leafs prospect Mitch Marner’s family home caught fire prior to Game 1 of the OHL final. (Sportsnet)