Breaking: Jared Cowen

This just in…

Garrioch pours some salt in the wound:

Et pour les Francophones:

Cowen, who has been out of action for the past 8 Binghamton games, will miss some undisclosed amount of time with a lower body injury that Don Brennan indicated was a hip flexor issue. In an interview with the Team 1200, Luke Richardson was less specific about the diagnosis.

In comments to Ken Warren Friday, Tim Murray had this to say:

“He’s a big part of our organization, whether he’s 70 per cent or 60 per cent or 80 per cent, we’re not going to rush him. We feel we have enough players down there that can play, and he has already proven that he’s an NHL player. We’re not going to jeopardize him long-term by playing him right now.”

Given the impasse that the NHL and NHLPA continue to have, the concern that a top-4 fixture on Ottawa's blueline may miss the start of the 2012/13 season, isn't as urgent as it could be.

UPDATE:

Mckenzie pipes in with some good/bad news:

And Jo Innes (The Score's 'NHL injury smartass') adds this context:

Brutal.

With the expectation that Cowen would slot within Ottawa's top-four this season, his absence puts an overwhelming amount of pressure on Marc Methot and incumbent veterans like Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips. Whether it was on the podcast or on the blog, I have gone at lengths about how I believed Phillips had a bit of a resurgence playing sheltered minutes on the third pairing away from the opposition's top line – a departure from the days under Cory Clouston and something that Paul MacLean does not get enough credit for. 

When insulated, Phillips is still a capable defenceman who can handle defensive zone and penalty kill match ups. Nevertheless, it's difficult to ignore, that from a puck possession standpoint, Phillips was Ottawa's worst defensive regular. 

At least in Gonchar's case, he is staying active and playing in competitive games. The greatest competition Phillips has faced the past few months stems from the burgeoning microbrewery industry in the nation's capital. The longer this lockout drags on, the more one wonders what kind of game shape #4 is in should the season get going.

Cowen and Methot, were considered the most likely candidates to till the left-side on the top-pair. Without any internal competition, for better or worse, Methot essentially stands as Karlsson's de facto partner. Hopefully there's chemistry…

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