Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: jason spezza
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Here are Five Questions with … Jason Spezza:
Obviously it's a major adjustment going from Ottawa to Dallas, so what has it been like for you? Has it been strange, different, challenging? How would you describe the adjustment?
"I would say it's all of the above.
"The strange is starting to wear off. It's definitely starting to become more routine now that I've been to the game rink a bunch and been around the guys a lot. Once you start playing more and more games you start feeling more comfortable, so the strange is starting to go away.
"It's challenging just trying to get to know everybody on the team and what their tendencies are, where they like to stand on the ice. Everybody has their things they like to do, so that's a bit of a challenge for me, figure out guys' tendencies.
"And it's been exciting. Just being on a new team it just feels like the excitement is really in my game. I'm trying to make sure I'm pushing myself to do well and to really help the club."
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Spezza will need to be on the defensive Not long ago, Jeff Carter was the equivalent of Spezza — a talented but unanchored center with more promise than production. But Carter, ditched by Philadelphia, then by Columbus, has turned himself into an excellent three-zone center in Los Angeles under coach Darryl Sutter. Without Carter complementing Kopitar, the Kings don’t have two Cups in the last three years. Carter, formerly a shoot-first center, is more dangerous now that he’s committed to playing defense. Only time will tell whether Spezza, the ex-Senator, will resurrect himself similarly in Dallas. Spezza is a brilliant playmaker. But he’s never been considered defensively responsible. He’ll need to be with the Stars when he’s butting heads with Carter, Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, David Backes, and Paul Stastny in the Western Conference.
Stuart’s contract a head-scratcher Brad Stuart is 34 years old. He has yet to play a single real game for Colorado, which acquired him from San Jose for draft picks. The ex-Bruin is 15 appearances short of hitting the 1,000-game threshold. In San Jose, Stuart’s teammates performed better when he was on the bench instead of on the ice. He is a high-mileage, defense-first defenseman. Stuart’s average ice time, 23:10 in 2009-10, has gone down each season (21:31 in 2010-11, 21:03 in 2011-12, 20:27 in 2012-13, 19:09 last year). Yet the Avalanche signed Stuart on Monday to a two-year, $7.2 million extension. The Avalanche have yet to see Stuart, who will likely be paired with Erik Johnson, under regular-season duress. Stuart will be 35 when his extension becomes effective in 2015-16, which means he will count against the cap if he retires. Players fitting Stuart’s profile (see Chris Phillips, Rob Scuderi) struggle as they progress through their mid-to-late-30s. It’s possible Stuart could be the exception. The Avalanche could have used this season to figure this out.
from Ian Mendes of TSN,
After the Senators missed the playoffs in the 2013-14 season, there were rumblings that Spezza was on the trade market.
General manager Bryan Murray confirmed that Spezza and his agent Rick Curran had requested a trade in May, which created a ton of media interest leading up to the NHL Draft weekend at the end up of June.
Spezza declined an opportunity to head to Nashville in a trade and says he wanted to end up in Dallas. He wishes the entire episode was kept quiet, but he harbors no ill feelings towards Murray or the Senators organization for the fact the trade request became public.
"I think obviously the goal of mine was to kind of get traded without the hoopla around it and all the conversation that went around it. The reality of it is, that was never going to happen," Spezza said. "So I just tried to stay quiet, and I talked to Bryan a few times throughout the process. I have a lot of respect for Bryan, I think he has a lot of respect for me, and unfortunately, things get kind of dragged out through the papers and the media and sometimes things get skewed, but that's the nature of the game and it was my decision to ask him to move me and I had to live with the consequences. But, I'm happy with the end result."
Mid-to-late August is the time of year that most NHL players--at least those who have established longer-term homes in particular locales--begin showing up near their places of employment.
Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson's return to Canada's capital yielded some, let's say slightly uncomfortable questions regarding possibly succeeding Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza as the Senators' captain, as noted by the Canadian Press's Lisa Wallace (the Senators' website posted an 11:37 clip of Karlsson's media availability, too)...
“Obviously it’s something I wouldn’t say no to (but) it’s not something I’m going to ask for,” the star defenceman said Monday. “I think whoever takes that decision is going to make the right one and whether it’s me or someone else I think it’s going to be good for the team and good for the organization.”
The Senators are once again in search of a new captain as Jason Spezza — who replaced longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson — was traded to the Dallas Stars this past summer. Spezza wore the “C” for just one season before requesting a trade from Senators management.
“As a friend point of view it’s sad to see him go and I wish him all the best,” Karlsson said. “It’s part of the business unfortunately. He’s been here for a long time and felt that he needed to move on. It’s just one of those things you learn to deal with as a professional athlete.”
And Karlsson certainly seems to have blunted the edge of his spar-worthy tiff with the Senators' particularly team-critical media corps:
Jim Nill talked first about the Dallas Stars then turned it over to Jason Spezza.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch must have gotten a rare day off prior to the day-before-teams-make-decisions-they'll-inevitably-buy-out, a.k.a. the start of unrestricted free agency, so the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby filled in the Sun newspaper chain's rumor-based-column category for Sunday evening, and he posited the following regarding salary cap-compliance buy-outs addind Christian Ehrhoff to the mix of unrestricted free agents...
“It adds players that you hope your team can get at a better price,” said one NHL exec on Sunday evening. “You know these guys aren’t going to sign for what they had before. You are going to get more players coming into the picture. You hear management guys say it all the time: “I love this player or that player at $3 million, but I hate him at $5 million’.”
And he offered this surprisingly honest take from a league exec regarding Jason Spezza's ability to continue to have Nashville on his no-trade list, which David Poile and Bryan Murray seemed to suggest was the most selfish act in the history of hockey:
“It complicates your life, no question,” an NHL team exec said of players’ having no-go lists. “It’s just another restriction we have to put up with in a cap system — and more players are getting full no-movement clauses in their contracts. Some teams benefit from that at times, like when an agent calls up and says: ‘We want to come to your team’ and you weren’t really aware of it. But it can be a double-edged sword if they just want to come (for a sunset season or strictly personal satisfaction). So you have to be careful.”
Hornby continues with free agent speculation...
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons can be equally acerbic and surprisingly sincere, so let's cover both areas of his writing in a short survey of his Sunday column.
Regarding the acerbic part, I hate to say it, but I most certainly agree with him here....
Free agents I wouldn’t touch: Vanek, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Lee Stempniak, David Booth ... So we’re wondering: Does Tim Thomas get a job this summer?
(Did Tim Thomas hear David Poile explain that Nashville has no state taxes on income? Red State Tour, woo!)
I understand why Jason Spezza turned down a deal to Nashville. Would hate to be a lone wolf in the Western Conference at centre and be overmanned nightly against the Kings, Ducks, Blackhawks, Sharks and Avalanche.
But I will be a little acerbic in suggesting that the damn 2nd-through-7th round NHL Draft on the NHL Network involves far too much talking over everything, and in the talking heads blathering on, they missed what was an absolutely wonderfully touching moment:
“I don’t get it. When you talk about winning and losing, I know you want to go to a team to win a Cup, but we’re as committed as anybody. Who knows, maybe we’re closer than anybody thinks."
“You have to sell your team all the time. But there are teams that are national TV or major markets. I get that. But what we have on the ice, what we have off the ice, no state taxes. There’s a lot of advantage to playing in Nashville. But you can ask Peter Forsberg what he thought about Nashville, or Paul Kariya, just to drop a few names of players who might be going to the Hall of Fame."
“I get it. That’s the way the world is right now. There’s a lot of entitlement."
-David Poile, GM of the Nashville Predators on Jason Spezza not wanting to play in Nashville. More from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy.
I wonder how many deals Bryan Murray turned down because he did not like the suggested trade?
Spezza has a right to say no to certain teams, just like Murray has a right to turn down trades.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators want to use their off-season to sell season tickets and if they don’t get a deal done for Spezza while teams are engaged in the process this could be another summer-long saga.
“The player has signed a contract. I would suspect that there will be further conversations,” said Murray.
“This is not a deadline by any means. We don’t start hockey until mid-September.
“We have a number of things that could happen. It’s just a matter of having conversations with the right people. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t we have a really good player on our team.”
This doesn’t mean a deal is dead by any means, however, Murray is willing to be patient to get what he wants that wasn’t on the table here.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports that Senators GM Bryan Murray won't trade Jason Spezza unless he gets the amount of compensation he's seeking from the Blues, Blackhawks, Ducks or whoever else is bidding on Spezza's services, and all I'm going to say about Garrioch's update is this:
I'm sure that having Murray as a GM helps the master of trade rumors cut out the middleman (Garrioch's been at this far longer than Eklund, and Garrioch is far, far better), but man, it's got to suck playing for a general manager who will explicitly discuss his displeasure with your play or his attempts to trade you with every reporter that will listen to him. It sure didn't help the Wings in the mid-90's, and in this day and age...It's got to be rough.
"I told this to the agent and the player, 'It may happen, there may be conversations that bring us close to it, but it certainly doesn't have to be the cutoff point by any stretch,'" said Murray. "It could go all summer and it could go into the year. If I don't get the right deal, he has a year left on his contract and that could be the case, yes."
Of course, this can all change."
Now, Murray could be trying to drive up the market a little bit because the offers have been less than desireable. Spezza might want out but that doesn't mean they will give him away, either.
Murray wasn't willing to put any odds on whether he'll get a deal done in the next few hours leading up to the draft.
"I'm not a betting many so I won't give any odds," said Murray. "I'm not sure at this point. I'm certainly having some discussions, not as much as I thought might happen today. Again, there are a few people talking to me that have expressed interest. We'll play it out and see if anything comes of it."
The free agent "wining and dining period" has been a bit of a pain in the rear to keep up with, but it's at least intriguing to witness player agents just cut out the middleman and tell actual reputable sources, "Oh yeah, we met with team X, team Y and team Z" instead of having to read someone's column about "league sources" (who are almost always agents or hopeful GM's).
But the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has arrived in Philadelphia, and it wouldn't be the draft or five days till free agency if Garrioch didn't provide us with both an update on Jason Spezza's status...
It's believed as many as five teams -- including St. Louis, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville and Florida -- have made calls on the Ottawa captain. The club is mulling over what route to take.
With Spezza requesting a trade, the Senators would like to have a deal in place by Friday, but the club would like to get a No. 1 pick to replace the one Ottawa gave up in the deal for Bobby Ryan with Anaheim last summer.
Murray along with assistant GM's Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee were expected to sit down Wednesday to discuss the different scenarios because this is a deal that has a chance to be a game-changer.
Updated with LeBrun stuff at 6:57 PM:
TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie discussed pre-draft trade and free agent discussions in an edition of Insider Trading that lasts for nearly four minutes. TSN usually posts a summation thereof, but if you don't want to wait until 7:30 or 8...
1. McKenzie says that there are 3 teams in the Western Conference (Anaheim, St. Louis +?) and 1 "mystery team" in the Eastern Conference who are talking to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza (who has a no-trade list of 10 teams, incl. Florida, Carolina, Columbus and the Islanders). McKenzie says the Senators want a 1st-round draft pick as part of the compensation package.
2. Dreger says that David Bolland wants "maximum value," and he wants an 8-year deal at $4.9 million to remain with the Leafs. Toronto probably won't give him the term he wants, but Bolland believes he'll be healthy by training camp;
3. Dreger says that the Oilers are looking for a center and a defenseman, and they're willing to trade the 3rd overall pick and/or Sam Gagner in their efforts to improve the team, which may include trading for the Panthers' 1st overall pick;
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+boyle, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, jason+spezza, joe+thornton, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, sam+gagner, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks
In a bit of a departure from his Monday "Hockey World" entries, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned two very lengthy Monday-morning columns. The first focuses on the "conensus" top 4 prospects for Friday and Saturday's NHL draft in Aaron Ekblad, Leon Draisaitl, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett; the second column focuses on the state of the Edmonton Oilers, via a Q and A with Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish.
Matheson asks some incredibly pointed questions over the course of the lengthy Q and A:
Q: What about [Sam] Gagner? He’s been an Oiler since 2007 and a solid No. 2 centre for most of his time here. Are you trading him? He has two years left at a $4.8-million salary-cap hit ($5-million salary each of the next two seasons) and his no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until July 1.
A: He’s in the same category as everybody else. We’re all trying to improve our teams and our performance.
Q: Sam hasn’t asked for a trade like Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza, has he? Spezza wants a change of scenery with one year left on his contract.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
One thing in l’Affaire Jason Spezza that has become clear is that Spezza is no Dany Heatley. What isn’t so clear is whether or not Spezza actually asked for a trade out of Ottawa. Senators GM Bryan Murray maintains that Spezza did, those close to the player say that isn’t exactly the case.
According to sources close to Spezza, the scenario went down a little differently than it’s being portrayed. In his exit interview with Murray, Spezza laid his cards on the table. He told Murray that if the Senators were intent on a quick rebuild and were in the acquisition mode in terms of bringing in top-end talent, he wanted to be a part of it. But if the plan was to tear down the roster and rebuild the team with young players and draft picks, it might be best for the organization to maximize his value now and that he would not stand in the way of a deal involving him, provided it was not to one of the 10 teams in his modified no-trade clause.
Paul Grant Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs to watch when it comes to the big-name free-agent centers.
Both clubs, we hear, have talked to the Vancouver Canucks about Ryan Kesler and to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza, although they are hardly alone; several clubs have checked in on both available assets.
It's not surprising that Anaheim has inquired about both, as the Ducks' desire for a high-end, No. 2 center is hardly a state secret, especially when the club tried to hard to get Kesler at the March 5 trade deadline.
What we're hearing out of both Ottawa and Vancouver is that the price is too high for each center, perhaps because we haven’t got to draft week yet in Philadelphia when things are expected to heat up.
Then again, the Canucks view Kesler as quite a bargain at a $5 million cap hit the next two seasons. Spezza has only a year left on his deal but his offensive talent is a major drawing card the Senators are banking on cashing in on a trade.
One club we’re told that is intrigued is the Detroit Red Wings, although at this point it's just that, pure intrigue and other than a very preliminary discussion, there hasn't been much work done on that front.
For starters, I don’t think Detroit can do something of that magnitude as long as Stephen Weis sand his $4.9 million cap hit remains on the books for the next four years. Good luck moving that contract.
more plus additional hockey topics...
The Calgary Sun's Eric Francis had a conversation with new Flames GM Brad Trevliving on Monday afternoon, and Treveling made two particularly telling remarks, first addressing the suggestions that his team is bidding for Jason Spezza's services...
“It’s categorically false,” said the Calgary Flames new GM, making his first public response to a report out of Ottawa saying the Flames offered up Jiri Hudler, Mikael Backlund, “possibly” Dennis Wideman and a second- or third-round draft pick.
“I haven’t made any such offers. That’s 100% fantasy island. I saw it early Sunday online and had to read it a couple times and had to remind myself ‘oh ya I’m the Flames GM. Interesting.’ ”
And then speaking bluntly and honestly about the fact that, yes, general managers actually talk to each other about potential trades on a regular basis:
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
One Canadian team has reached out to try to get Senators' captain Jason Spezza.
He likely doesn't want to go there.
League sources say the Calgary Flames have made a pitch to the Senators for their top centre but what they're offering and the destination itself make the chances of a deal happening slim.
While Flames' GM Brad Treliving deserves credit for trying to make a splash and rebuild, sources say Spezza has no desire whatsoever to stay in Canada and has told the Senators as much.
Sources say the Flames, Canucks, Oilers and Jets are among those on Spezza's list of 10 teams where he doesn't want to end up. The status of the Maple Leafs and Canadiens isn't known but he wouldn't be dealt to either of those places.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the National Post,
Jason Spezza has requested a trade, and Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray says he’ll try to make that happen.
“I don’t want to trade the guy, really, and I know I won’t get the value, in all likelihood that I should get for him,” Murray said Wednesday after the NHL general managers meeting. “But I think that Jason feels maybe there’s a change that he would like to have happen, and if that’s the case we’ll try to do what we can.”...
Murray said that a few teams have already asked about Spezza, even though Wednesday’s meeting was too busy to advance many talks. He expects trade chatter to pick up in the next few weeks leading up to the draft, which runs June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia.
If the Senators do trade Spezza as has been speculated for some time, it would likely not be for just prospects and/or draft picks.
“Obviously I’d like to win a hockey game next year, so getting a player back that can play in the league, that has played in the league, would be important,” Murray said.
a bit more plus some talk from Dale Tallon and David Poile...
added 9:55am, from Ian Mendes of TSN,
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The latest scuttlebutt on who's going where and why as another big season of free agency approaches:
It has the potential to be quite the offseason when it comes to high-profile centers changing teams.
We always say top centers don’t grow on trees and are hard to come by, well, there are at least two on the market in Ryan Kesler and Jason Spezza and it remains to be seen how it plays out on the Joe Thornton front.
First, in Vancouver, where the Canucks went fairly down the road in trade talks involving Kesler before the March 5 trade deadline, in particular with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, before deciding the offers weren’t good enough and pulling him back.
The question is, what’s the deal with him now given the new management in place in Vancouver?
Sources said new Canucks GM Jim Benning has already taken calls from teams on Kesler, if for no other reason than they’re wondering if he’s still available or not....
Spezza, with a year left on his deal, indicated to Senators management that he would welcome a change if a deal that makes sense comes Ottawa’s way. I suspect talks will heat up on that front closer to the draft later this month.
And, in San Jose, the Sharks have indicated they are entering a rebuilding mode. What does that mean for Joe Thornton, who signed a three-year extension earlier this season? Does he want to be around for a rebuild? Either way, Thornton holds all the cards with a no-movement clause. Same goes for Patrick Marleau, for that matter.
more on Kesler and other topic too...
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
While it makes some sense that the Toronto Maple Leafs might have an interest in bringing Spezza home — the Maple Leafs have never found a true number one centre — there’s little chance Murray would trade him to the Senators’ arch rivals. The Senators GM would also be relunctant to trade within the division, for fear of Spezza coming back to burn the Senators. (For reference purposes, see Ben Bishop and Tampa Bay Lightning)
Keep all that in mind while considering these potential homes for the captain.
St. Louis Blues- Why would this make sense? In their disappointing first round playoff exit, the Blues scored only 2.3 goals per game (14th of 16 teams) and their power play operated at a dreadful 6.9 per cent success rate. Spezza, meanwhile, has scored at a point per game pace throughout his career and is one of the NHL’s best power play players....
Nashville Predators- Why would this make sense? After years and years of plodding, deliberate, defensive-oriented hockey, Nashville finally fired Barry Trotz, who had been the only coach in franchise history. Nashville finished 19th in goals scored last season and they were dead last in 2013 and All-Star defenceman Shea Weber has been the club’s leading scorer for the past two seasons....
Anaheim Ducks- Why would this make sense? The Ducks already have one of the top centres in the NHL — Ryan Getzlaf is a Hart Trophy finalist — and the addition of Spezza would give them a 1-2 punch that could come close to rivalling the Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin combination in Pittsburgh....
Florida Panthers- Why would this make sense? There’s no such thing as status quo in Florida and the new ownership will be looking to put a fresh stamp on the franchise. The addition of a veteran centre such as Spezza could take some pressure off Jonathan Huberdeau. The Panthers, always in a fight for attention in a busy sports market, could make a splash by adding a marquee name....
more on each team...
George here on the late shift, and I feel the need to identify myself because I'm going to get a little "snippy" here:
If Dion Phaneuf played a little less like Mr. Heavyfoot on the Maple Leafs' blueline, Jason Spezza and "potential" intersected a little more regularly, their teams wouldn't have conveniently floated the, "These guys are available" lines when just enough teams have been or are about to be eliminated from playoff contention to drum up some significant interest (I'm starting to believe that Thomas Vanek is more modern-day Ray Sheppard--i.e. a "finisher" who doesn't have great individual skills--than a free agent prize, but that's another story).
The fact that Phaneuf's 29 and was just signed to that massive 7-year, $49 million contract extension (per Capgeek), and that Spezza's entering the final year of a contract with a $7 million cap hit (though his salary's only $4 million in real-world dollars next year) at 30 also play into the equation, as do suggestions that, at their respective ages, the players may be in fact at the age where "diminishing returns" fare into overpaying to acquire their services (and if we are to believe what we read, both teams plan on moving said players to Western Conference teams).
Accoring to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, Spezza's drumming up significant interest. Garrioch believes that Spezza will probably be moved at or around the draft in Philadelphia (on June 27th and 28th), and he reports that several Eastern Conference teams and one with-division team are interested in Spezza:
Cue the, "Story blowing up this morning" title for this one from TSN:
The captain of the Ottawa Senators could be on the move this off-season.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Jason Spezza is "very much in play on the NHL trade market."
McKenzie says the rumors stem in part from Spezza's exit interview with the Senators this season when he reportedly informed Ottawa ownership that he may look favorably on a move.
The 30-year-old had 23 goals and 43 assists for 66 points in 75 games played this season.
Spezza, who has played his entire 12-year career in the nation's capital, has a year left on his seven-year, $49 million contract signed ahead of the 2008-09 season.
And Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos countered with the following:
Ontario captains on the way out soon? Independent sources say both #Sens and #Leafs shopping Spezza/ Phaneuf to west conf #NHL teams
Hearing lots of interest in #Leafs Phaneuf @ right price. Some clubs tell me they value him btw 5m -6m, meaning Tor must cover remaining $.
Update: Cue the video:
With two days to go until Wednesday's 3pm et deadline, there's some trade speculation surrounding Jason Spezza and the Ottawa Senators.
Sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger that the team is 'quietly gauging interest' on the Senators captain, though Spezza has a limited no-trade clause and carries a large contract.
The news comes amidst other reports that the Senators have been been searching for a winger to play with him.
The 30-year-old centre has one year remaining on his current deal which pays him $4 million next season - but with a $7 million cap hit. The team signed him to a seven-year, $49 million contract in 2007.
"It's frustrating to lose again. We just don't do enough to win. We get too passive. Once again we find a way to lose."It's clear we're feeling the pressure right now. We're feeling the heat. We want to try and win hockey games. The effort is there but we don't execute".
"We don't play loose enough with the puck. We're scared to make mistakes.
"That's the position we've got ourselves in. We have to find a way out. Nobody is going to give us any help. Teams know that we're a reeling team right now, we're fragile. If we continue to play fragile teams are going to keep taking advantage of us."
-Jason Spezza of the Otttawa Senators after another loss. More on the game from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
Any way you slice it, tonight's game was an important one for the Ottawa Senators. It was a chance to get an important two points against a division rival, a chance to bounce back on the road after a home loss in a game they probably should have won, and a chance to avoid falling behind early in the Atlantic division.
Of course, all that ignores the elephant in the room. The fact is, even though a lot of the Sens players had avoided talking about it, or said they weren't thinking about it, this was probably a night they've had circled on their calendar's since the middle of the summer for one reason. Daniel Alfredsson.
The 'Battle of Ontario' was rejoined tonight as the Maple Leafs played their home opener against the Ottawa Senators. As they have since 1931, the 48th Highlanders opened the season for the Leafs - but the team chose to come out to the stylings of Metallica, instead:
While some things may stay the same, at least one thing would change. For the first time in 18 years, the inter-Provincial rivalry will not include Daniel Alfredsson. It made for much less booing, but no less scoring.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: battle+of+ontario, cory+conacher, craig+anderson, daniel+alfredsson, dave+bolland, erik+karlsson, james+reimer, jamie+devane, jared+cowen, jason+spezza, joffrey+lupul, jonathan+bernier, kyle+turris, mason+raymond, morgan+reilly, nazem+kadri, patrick+wiercioch, phil+kessel, randy+carlyle
Going into the first pre-season game of the year, Ottawa Senators' fans had a few questions. Two of the most pressing questions are whether or not Erik Karlsson will be able to fully recover from having his Achilles' tendon partially severed by the skate blade of Matt Cooke and return to Norris Trophy form. Another was whether the newly acquired Bobby Ryan would be able to find chemistry with linemate Milan Michalek and newly minted Captain Jason Spezza (both of whom are also returning from a season plagued by injuries) and justify the heavy price paid to bring him in from Anaheim (former first rounder Stefan Noeson, former Swedish MVP Jakob Silfverberg, and the club's first rounder in 2014).
Of course, no pre-season matchup is going to put those kinds of questions to rest - but all the signs were certainly positive in the Sens 3-1 win over the Jets in Winnepeg last night.
I'd like to introduce you to our newest KK blogger, Da lil Guy.
I am sure the name sounds familar to some of you, he is active in the comment sections throughout the KK blogs and has been a member for over 3 years.
His team is the Ottawa Senators but will be blogging on different NHL topics too. -Paul
Ever since the Ottawa Senators captaincy became vacant (y'know, when whatshisname left to play somewhere else), the $5 million dollar question in Ottawa has been who will wear the 'C' going forward. In fact - $5 million was the amount Sens defenceman Mark Methot was offered by the media to reveal his thoughts on the subject after day 2 of the Sens training camp, but he still declined politely when they couldn't show him the money upfront.
We do know a few things, and the first is that the Senators next Captain will be chosen by the coaching staff and not by a player vote. This is a departure from the procedure that elected the last captain (wait...it'll come to me), but of course we all know how that turned out.
The second thing is that it will not be 2011-12 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. Despite the current trend towards younger NHL captains, Coach Paul MacLean dismissed the possibility on day 1 of training camp. The Paulrus said he would look to the team's leadership group – which includes Goaltender Craig Anderson and the three longest serving members of the Team – Chris Neil, Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza.
from Bruce Garrioch of Off The Posts,
A source told the Sun Spezza is targeting a Sunday return, but has to get clearance from the doctors.
“He continues to skate on a daily basis and makes progress,” said MacLean Friday. “We’ll go through practice (Saturday) and the pre-game skate and we’ll see where it is. If he’s available to us, it’s Jason Spezza, we’re going to have him in the lineup.”
The Senators will have an optional skate Saturday and Spezza will skate with that group.
“I know I’m going to be there to watch it,” said MacLean. “I might not be on the ice, but we’ll make a decision from there. I don’t know about all the medical hurdles but I’ll know more about that (Saturday).”
from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,
Ottawa Senators’ players have been making miraculous recoveries from injuries lately, but it doesn’t sound like Jason Spezza will join that list — at least any time soon.
The star centre, who has been sidelined since undergoing back surgery on February 1, isn’t expected to return for the start of the playoffs next week.
“I think he’s been skating, but he’s at the public skating stage still. It’s significant because he’s started skating, but it’s public skating really,” said Paul MacLean on Friday, giving his most detailed update on Spezza this month. “He’s not even close to joining the team I think.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Senators GM Bryan Murray told CTV Ottawa before Thursday's visit by the New York Rangers that the back surgery the club's top centre had may not allow him to return this year
"(Erik) Karlsson and (Spezza) are real borderline at this time," said Murray.
Speaking during the morning skate, Murray said Spezza has been having pain since the procedure and hasn't been on the ice lately. Earlier this month, Murray was hopeful Spezza would have returned in "two or three weeks".
The Ottawa Senators beat the New York Rangers 2-0, giving them a 3-2 series lead.
Jason Spezza had the only goals of the night, here is his game winner.
added 10:06pm, Game highlights can be viewed below…
Can you say control the puck and find the open man?
The Sens did defeat the Jets, probably putting and end to Winnipeg’s chances for the playoffs.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Spezza thinks of himself as more of “a team player” these days – fewer blind passes, less gambling, but still creative – and is convinced his personal success this year has been but a happy result of the overall team play.
Whatever it is – new coach in Paul MacLean, deft tweaking by GM Bryan Murray, the reborn play of Alfredsson, Jason Spezza shooting more – it has worked more than not this season, the recent wins picking the team up from a losing streak that had reached seven games and, once again, quieting the fans of Scotiabank Place.
“It’s good to have passionate fans,” Spezza says. “It’s part of playing in a hockey market and it’s part of the positives and negatives that come with that. If you’re playing really good, you’re a hero, and if you’re not, you’re a dog.”
Having known the doghouse, he much prefers the penthouse.
from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,
It has taken nearly a decade, but the Ottawa Senators have finally found the right coach for their star centre. But that’s not to say that the relationship between Spezza and MacLean is always rosy. In fact, both of them told me that they have passionate - and sometimes heated - debates about how the game should be played behind closed doors.
“Paul has helped out my game a lot. There’s dialogue between us,” says Spezza. “It’s not just him talking to me or me talking to him. We really hash things out and sometimes it gets heated and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s all part of the emotion of the game and that’s what’s great. He’s an emotional guy and I’m an emotional guy.”
“We’ve had some good conversations between the two of us,” adds MacLean. “How do I like to play and how does he like to play? And we’ve tried to marry some of the things about how I want to play and he wants to play. Now some of the things I like to do, he doesn’t like. And some of the things he wants to do, I don’t like. But through communication and time, we’re able to accept a little bit of this and a little bit of that and come up with the player we have today.”
If you go back and pick out some key words from their quotes, you realize that Spezza and MacLean are forging a true relationship in Ottawa.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
What’s the worst road rink for getting credit for a faceoff win?
The Motor City, according to Spezza.
“You go into Detroit, it’s impossible to be over 50 per cent,” he says. “I don’t know what those stats guys are doing, but they’re definitely giving the benefit of the doubt to (Red Wings centres) on the 50-50s (tossup draws).”
more on faceoffs…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Of greater interest, however, is the status of Jason Spezza, he of the $7-million annual cap hit and the no-trade clause. Spezza’s contract makes a deal problematic, and not necessarily just because of the dollars that he is owed. (For the record, it’s four more years after this one, with the next two at $8-million, and then the third year at $5-million and the final year at $4-million. In terms of actual dollars out, it adds up to about $3-million less than the overall cap hit on a contract that was front-loaded just like Dany Heatley’s.) Some teams - put the Los Angeles Kings at the top of the list - can afford to take on that sort of money, especially as the dollars dwindle down in the years ahead. The larger problem is Spezza’s ongoing health issues. He’s just back in the lineup after missing five weeks recovering from a separated shoulder.
Spezza was also absent for 22 games last year because of groin problems. In the six years since the lockout ended, he’s only played a full season once - 2008-09.
more plus other hockey topics…
Numerous reports are Jason Spezza is out long-term with a shoulder injury.
The severity of the injury may not be determined for another week.
added 2:27pm, from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,
The Ottawa Senators will have to play without their No. 1 centre for the foreseeable future.
Jason Spezza will be sidelined with a right shoulder injury that will keep him away from the ice for the next few weeks.
The encouraging news for the Senators is that the injury should not require surgery and Spezza should be able to return this season - although it will likely be after the NHL All-Star break.
“It’s going to be a while. I’ve never hurt my shoulder before, so there’s kind of a lot of grey area right now,” Spezza said on Monday morning, with his right arm in a sling. “It seems like it’s going to be fine without surgery. But it just happened, so it’s still fresh. We’ll get a better idea in the next week or so.”
Jason Spezza left last night’s game after taking this hit from Kris Letang. Letang received two for boarding and Spezza has an upper-body injury and more information should be available sometime today.
Gotta play catch-up again first, as yesterday’s minor league update took longer than expected and robbed from some of my otherwise-set-aside-for-writing time. Alas, it’s Saturday morning’s edition of JJ’s Three Cheers.
From Thursday’s games first:
***Cheers to Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, who put up a goal and four points in total, factoring in on all of his club’s offense as the Senators downed the New York Islanders 4-1. Losers of six straight (and outscored 20-5 in their last five contests), consider that quality start to the season officially neutralized and then some for the Isles.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: benoit+pouliot, brandon+dubinsky, jaroslav+halak, jason+spezza, loui+eriksson, mathieu+garon
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Ottawa star center Jason Spezza missed his second straight game with a groin injury Saturday night in a week where blog-fueled trade rumors picked up again.
“There’s no way that’s happening,” Sens GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com Saturday, quashing any notion of trading him.
Murray took a peak at the trade market for Spezza in the summer, but he says that’s over with now. Spezza controls his fate with a no-trade clause.
“We have not had any discussion regarding any potential or possible trade of Jason,” Spezza’s veteran agent Rick Curran told ESPN.com Saturday. “In fact to the contrary, Bryan’s been very supportive. I can assure you there is no [interest] from Jason in leaving.”
continued plus other topics, including Jimmy Howard UFA talk…
“He just wants, like a lot of players, to be important and to feel that we understand what he wants to be (during) his career and what he’s capable of being. We’ve got a guy who is committed to the Ottawa Senators.
-Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray oon Jason Spezza. More from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
There’s been plenty of debate on the issue of Spezza’s mindset since Murray told the media Spezza informed him he wouldn’t “object” to being dealt.
“At no point did I ever demand a trade,” Spezza said Tuesday at his annual charity golf tournament, being played at Greyhawk. “I’ve seen a lot of what’s been written and talked about ... at the end of the year I was pretty emotional and upset ... I was upset at us losing, and I was upset at a bit of the response I got.
“I talked to Bryan and (said) I read the newspapers, I see every year there’s trade talk about me. I just basically told him, if you want to move me, you can move me. Obviously, I had (a) no-trade clause coming up on July 1. I want to be here, but if he thinks it’s best for the team for me not to be here, and the city, then he can move me.
“He told me he wasn’t going to move me, and to be honest, I was happy about it, because I like being here in Ottawa.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Jason Spezza won’t have to worry about those change-of-address cards.
While the Senators centre told GM Bryan Murray he wouldn’t “object” to being dealt, the Senators couldn’t find any dance partners before Spezza’s “no move” clause kicked in at midnight Thursday.
He certainly won’t be traded after Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk stroked a cheque for a $4-million bonus owed to Spezza.
Murray said he studied the market for Spezza and a deal that made sense.
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Murray said he’ll sit down with Spezza face-to-face when he gets back to Ottawa and put the trade talk to rest.
“There’s not going to be (a trade) at this point in time,” said Murray.
“We’ve talked enough about Jason. I’m very happy. We’ll talk to Jason as I get back to Ottawa and continue to get this back in place so that all the speculation goes away.”
Spezza’s no-movement clause kicks in on July 1 and the Senators haven’t been able to find anybody willing to pick up the $33 million US left on his contract who is going to give them a decent return.
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
Incoming Panthers GM Dale Tallon watched from a distance as his former Chicago draft picks—Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane—led the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup. He has also said repeatedly that the proper way to rebuild the Panthers is through the draft.
Accordingly, Tallon isn’t likely to give up the third pick and a chance to draft Fowler or Gudbranson. He is, however, interested in cleaning house of veterans if the right deal arrives….
Could Spezza answer Florida’s call for a true first-line centre for the first time since Jokinen was traded away? Horton, 6-2 and 229 pounds, has scored at least 20 goals in all five of his NHL seasons, but hasn’t topped the 31 goals he scored in his second NHL season.
Would a trade to Hockey Country inspire a new attitude? Horton has a salary cap hit of $4 million per season on a deal that has three years remaining. Interestingly, his no-trade clause also kicks in on July 1, the same day as Spezza’s.
more teams mentioned…