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Cowen goes on offensive in training camp push

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Defenceman Jared Cowen put some of his offensive ability on display Monday night, scoring both of the Senators' goals in a 4-2 pre-season loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images).

He's considered one of the biggest building blocks — literally and figuratively — of the Ottawa Senators' future blue line.

And, at 6-5 and 230 pounds, Jared Cowen knows what his calling card is going to be when he finds a permanent home in the National Hockey League — a stay-at-home type of guy who makes every night tough on the opposing team's forwards.

But the Senators' top pick (ninth overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has another side to his game, too. One he put on display in a major way in Ottawa's pre-season opener on Monday night, scoring both of his team's goals in a 4-2 road setback at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's always nice to prove people wrong, I guess," Cowen said today in response to those who might question his offensive abilities. "But at the same time, I'm not going to try to do something they didn't draft me for or want me on the team for. If there are opportunities to do that sort of thing, I'm not going to pass them up. Scoring goals is the funnest thing to do and I'll keep working on that."

Not that Cowen didn't arrive at Senators training camp this season without any offensive pedigree. During his four years with the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs, his point totals grew each season, topping out at 48 — including 18 goals — in 58 games in 2010-11.

"I know he's not maybe known for putting up a huge amount of points," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "But I know he's a smart player. He took advantage of a good opportunity (Monday night), he made a good read that good players make and he didn't make any mistake when he got there."

Cowen is also smart enough to know that a more well-rounded game will surely help his cause in terms of potentially landing a spot on the Senators blue line to start the upcoming season.

"Any time you're just a one-dimensional player, you're going to have a lot more work to do (to impress the coaches) than somebody who can play at both ends of the ice," he said. "If I can do that, it can help me out quite a bit."

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The Senators made their first cuts of training camp today, returning defenceman Jordan Fransoo (Brandon) and forwards Jakub Culek (Rimouski), Stefan Noesen (Plymouth), Matt Puempel (Peterborough) and Mark Stone (Brandon) to their junior teams. As well, goaltender Matej Machovsky was released from his amateur tryout.

Noesen and Puempel, both first-round picks by the Senators in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, have shots at being selected by Hockey Canada and Team USA, respectively, to represent their countries at the IIHF 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship. They'll be evaluated in that regard on their play from now until December.

"We'd like to get them back to start their respective seasons," said Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray. "They're both eligible for their respective world junior teams and they're trying to make that, so I feel they have to put on a real good show between now and Christmas time to get the invite (to final selection camps).

"This gives them a chance to hit the ground running right from the start and not miss any games, create chemistry with their (junior) linemates and have a real good start to their season."

After today's moves, 53 players remain in Senators training camp. The group includes five goaltenders, 15 defencemen and 33 forwards. Craig Anderson and Alex Auld will split goaltending duties Wednesday vs. Boston.

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Here is the roster released by the Senators for Wednesday's pre-season matchup against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place:

Goaltenders — Craig Anderson, Alex Auld, Robin Lehner.

Defencemen — Jared Cowen, Chris Phillips, Brian Lee, David Rundblad, Filip Kuba, Sergei Gonchar, Erik Karlsson, Mark Borowiecki.

Forwards — Milan Michalek, Shane Prince, Daniel Alfredsson, Peter Regin, Bobby Butler, Jason Spezza, Nikita Filatov, Erik Condra, Kaspars Daugavins, Stephane Da Costa, Mark Parrish, Corey Locke, Jim O'Brien, Nick Foligno, Mika Zibanejad.

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