Senators defenceman Jared Cowen ready to return to form
As the calendar turned to September another new face joined the group of Senators’ players taking part in skates at the Bell Sensplex.
While Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur were among the newcomers Monday, blueliner Jared Cowen was on hand Tuesday as players slowly drift back into town for the opening of Senators’ training camp which gets underway Sept. 16 with a golf tournament before medicals at the Canadian Tire Centre.
The 24-year-old Cowen, who had surgery in April to repair an abdominal tear in his oblique muscle that hampered him for parts of two seasons, told the Sun he’s fully recovered from the procedure and won’t have any issues getting back on the ice with his teammates when camp shifts into high gear on Sept. 18.
Cowen is hopeful now that he’s healthy he’ll be able to get back to the form that has made him one of the club’s top four blueliners in the past.
The normal recovery period for the procedure he had is six-to-eight weeks.
“It’s good. The rehab was easy. There’s still scar tissue so sometimes I feel a yank but that’s kind of like what I was feeling for the last (18 months) but it’s not the same. It’s fine. Once I warm-up it goes away so it’s actually feels really good,” said Cowen after a 60-minute skate.
“I think I got on the ice in Saskatoon in the last week of July and I’ve been skating for the most part with my skating coach back home. I’ve skated with different guys a few times here and there, but mostly I’ve just been working on skating and everything feels better than it did last year.”
Staying healthy hasn’t been easy for the Cowen, the club’s No. 1 pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2009 NHL entry daft. He’s played only one full season since 2011-12 but it should be noted he had hip surgery while playing for the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton during the lockout in 2012-13.
The hip is fine now, the abdominal issue has been hanging around for awhile and hampered his play. Cowen was back on the ice in late-July after his procedure and he didn’t skip any of the drills or shinny at the informal skate.
The 6-foot-5 Cowen said he probably shouldn’t have tried to play through the injury but didn’t want to miss any time either.
“It wasn’t the right thing to do because I had it for (18 months),” Cowen said. “It was frustrating to play with something but when I had the surgery I was fine and it was a good time to do it. It’s fine. I don’t regret that.”
Senators GM Bryan Murray along with assistants Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee have received a lot of calls from teams interested in Cowen but dealing him wasn’t an option because it’s difficult for any organization to give up on a young defenceman who still has upside potential.
With two years left at $3.1 million per-season, the Senators want to see what they’ve got in Cowen and that’s why he hasn’t been dealt. He’s looking forward to a big year under coach Dave Cameron and wants to show he can return to the form.
“I feel better now than I’ve felt in quite awhile,” said Cowen. “I feel like now I can just get back to playing and not worrying about anything else in terms of how my body is feeling and stuff like that.
“Yeah, I’m excited just to feel normal and see how it works when I feel normal. My first year, I felt normal and then the next year I got hurt and it’s kind of been the same thing since then. Hopefully it continues that way and I just get back to playing hockey.”
Cowen appreciates the support he’s gotten from Murray and his staff by keeping him here and showing belief in what he can bring to the table.
“It’s awesome to have that support and I feel that same way about myself,” Cowen said. “I know that it’s not just me that feels I can be a lot better and be the player that I know I’m going to be and I want to be.
“Camp is going to be big for me … how I start and then progressing step-by-step.”