Jared Cowen returns tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes
While initially thought to be lost for the season, Jared Cowen will make his season debut tonight.
When the Senators practiced this morning, Sylvain St-Laurent tweeted the following:
Les duos: Phillips-Méthot, Cowen-Gryba, Wiercioch-Gonchar, Lundin-Benoît. #Sens #LD— Sylvain St-Laurent (@Syl_St_Laurent) April 16, 2013
Jared Cowen confirmed later to Ian Mendes that he is playing. While Cowen had been practicing with the team for a while, Paul MacLean waited until the club returned home before inserting him into the lineup. This will allow MacLean to control when Cowen plays and against whom. Gryba and Methot have been primarily used as the club's shutdown pairing, but the Hurricanes have two dangerous lines.
My guess would be that we will see Phillips and Methot against the first line of Semin-E. Staal-Tlusty while Cowen and Gryba will see the line of LaRose-J. Staal-Skinner. This will provide a good test for Cowen and should allow him to play seven games to get ready for the playoffs. Also, by returning in the regular season, this should also help Cowen with his financial problems.
With Cowen's return, the Senators now only have two regulars still injured. Unfortunately they are club's two best players in Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza. Should one of them return, one has to like Ottawa's chances of doing some damage in the playoffs.