Why, you may ask?
Because if the past couple of seasons are any indication, Cowen is poised to take over a title from Spezza that nobody wants, and I don’t mean the Captaincy.
That is the list of previous “whipping boys” that the Senators fans have had. Those are the players who get the finger pointed at them when things go wrong, whether they were responsible or not. This list is, rightly or wrongly, usually a label that, with the exception of Alfredsson, sticks on a player for the duration of his tenure in Ottawa once it is applied.
Granted, sometimes it is earned, particularly in the case of Yashin, but more often than not it is unwarranted and the fans just look for someone to blame and regardless of their performance these players will feel the wrath.
It already started last season for Cowen, who despite the fact that the whole Senators blue line struggled, not to mention the goaltending, was singled out as the main reason on almost a nightly basis. For whatever reason (contract, draft position) the expectations heaped on Cowen continue to grow and people tend to forget he is still just a 23 year old player who has missed most of 2 seasons of development with major injuries.
Spezza has long been a lightning rod for criticism, and that is one of the reasons he is open to leaving the only NHL team he has known, just like I predicted was going to happen last November.
Like it or not, this team is about to lose the most talented offensive player in its history, and the tendency of the Senators fan base to eat its own will continue, with Cowen as the most likely target.
Hopefully he has broad shoulders and can take it.