via the release:
Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety Wednesday for a hit on Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons Tuesday night at First Niagara Center.
At 18:02 of the third period, Cowen came across the ice to hit Girgensons as he entered the Ottawa zone. No penalty was called on the play. Girgensons remained in the game.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
Buffalo won the game, 2-1, in a shootout.
Thanks for mentioning last night's shootout result NHL. You didn't have to be dicks about it.
This will be the second instance in less than a month's time that Cowen has been the subject of a discipline controversy. Cowen, if you'll recall, avoided a suspension earlier this season for concussing the Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk with a check to the head on November 23rd. For what it's worth, Datysuk returned to the ice and played last night in Florida for the first time since sustaining the injury.
Cowen has never been suspended, so that should conceivably help him avoid a lengthy suspension – especially since there was no penalty on the play and Girgensons remained in the game and eventually scored the shootout winner. But, considering how he escaped a sentence for Datsyuk, it will not be surprising to see Brendan Shanahan, the Director of NHL Player Safety, crack down on him here.
It would be a shame to lose Cowen at this critical juncture in the season when the team desperately needs wins and Cowen is playing his best hockey of the season. I know that is not saying much considering how erratic and underwhelming his play has been at times, but according to Extraskater, Cowen has been on a positive Corsi For (CF%) player for five consecutive games now. To put this in perspective, his previous season-high was just two consecutive games.
Other News & Notes
– Going back to yesterday's news that the Senators are talking contract extension with Chris Phillips, it's worth mentioning that a Phillips return would signify the organization bringing four left-handed shooting defencemen back into the fold. Considering there are a finite number of spots for Marc Methot, Patrick Wiercioch, Jared Cowen and Phillips, one of these defencemen is going to have to play his offside or the Senators could make a free agent signing or trade to shore up its right-side. Behind Erik Karlsson, this has been a nagging issue all season, and it needs to come to a resolution.
- There's no question that it is in the team's best long-term interests to play Wiercioch and Cowen in their natural role (and as an aside, one has to wonder what retaining Phillips means to Mark Borowiecki's chance of cracking the team next season). It's possible that Cody Ceci could get long look as a right-handed shot on the team's third pairing next season, but if the organization's not confident in keeping Wiercioch and Cowen together, a Phillips extension could necessitate a trade.
- The uncertainty of Assistant General Manager Tim Murray's future with the Senators organization — should he be offered the Buffalo General Manager's position — has left many wondering what this would do to Ottawa's front office. Long suspected the heir apparent to Bryan Murray's position, when the elder Murray retires, Tim taking a job with Buffalo would certainly throw a wrench into those natural succession plans. In turn, barring a hire outside of the organization, who would the Senators turn to internally to fill such a void? The popular choice seems to be Pierre Dorion because of his work with the amateur scouting staff, but as Scott (@wham_city) reminded me of the other day, Randy Lee is the team's capologist. With a background in the player development side and the business side, perhaps he would be the better choice.