Year after year, Jason Spezza has had his career paralleled with the development of Steve Yzerman. Well, you can now add a significant knee injury to the list of similarities between the two. In case you haven't heard, Spezza should be out for a prolonged period of time because he suffered the injury after Leafs forward, Matt Stajan, fell onto his right knee during the latter stages of last night's 3-2 loss to the Leafs. While the Ottawa Citizen is reporting that his knee will not require surgery, it's another blow to what has been a rather forgettable season for the Spezza.
First his linemate requests a trade...Then his Olympic aspirations disappear...Then he sells his home...Then his knee implodes...
''I felt something and then I tried to get up and skate but I had no power in it so I knew something was wrong and I went right off. It's always frustrating when you get hurt. It's part of the game but it's never easy. My game was coming around but everything happens for a reason so now I 've got to get better." ~ Jason Spezza
While Spezza might have heard a popping noise when the injury occured, but it easily could have been the Senators playoff bubble chances that burst if Spezza's absence is as serious as many are speculating. Even though the Senators have faired well despite the fact that Spezza hasn't had a stellar campaign from a production standpoint, a prolonged absence should leave the team in a precarious playoff situation. (Hell, I'm just uncomfortable with the thought that the loss of Spezza will translate into more faceoff opportunities for Chris Kelly and his 43-percent success rate.)
There's no question that the injury to Spezza will put an enormous amount of pressure on Mike Fisher. As if Fisher needs any more attention. It's not like he's dating Carrie Underwood or is coming off a terrible season and is already producing at rates well above his career norm. It's not too much to ask, right?
At practice today, Jesse Winchester was promoted to Spezza's spot on the top line centering Alfie and Michalek. And Peter Regin was moved to the second line left wing slot alongside Mike Fisher and Alexei Kovalev. How will these young forwards adjust and fare now that they've been asked to pick up some of the scoring slack?
Will Winchester's promotion cause him to forget the facets of his game that have made him an effective NHL player? Or will he revert back into his collegiate scorer's mentality that left fans wondering why this undrafted NCAA'er received a one-way contract in the first place?
Likewise, can Regin step up in Spezza's absence and reward his Swedish Elite League coach, Charles Berglund, who once flattered the Senators forward with comparisons to Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar?
For everyone's sake, I sure hope so. I'd hate for Bryan Murray to go back into the market and overpay wish future assets to bring in a band-aid solution that has significant cap ramifications or costs the team any combination of draft picks and prospects. And God forbid that Murray even considers putting in a re-entry claim on a steaming bag of shit like Michael Nylander.
''It means we'll have to be more of a team than ever. We're going to have to have guys step up and play with structure." ~ Cory Clouston
Play with structure...an interesting choice of words. Here's hoping that Clouston has the patience to give his youngsters new an opportunity to get acclimatized on their new lines.
Top 10 Fights of the Decade
In the most recent list over at Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy, Binghamton Senator Jeremy Yablonski has made their list of decade's greatest fights in a tilt with Jon "Nasty" Morasti.
Here it is. Enjoy.
Too Many Reminders of the Havlat Trade
First the injury to Patrick Wiercioch and now Josh Hennessey has been recalled by the Senators to take Spezza's roster spot on the Senators. With Hennessey's contract due to expire at the conclusion of this season, this could very well end up being Hennesey's last opportunity to play at the NHL level for the Senators organization. If you're going to make an impression Josh, now's the time to do it.