Anyone else find this Ottawa Sun interview with Jason Spezza over his captaincy and the evolution of his role odd?
“I find a way to get points,” said Spezza. “I’ve got to be good on the power play. I’ve always found a way to get points. It’s one thing to talk about, as your career goes on, points not being as important. It’s the reality now for me.
“I’m trying to work on other other parts of my game. I may never win a scoring race, but I’m trying to build towards winning a (Stanley) Cup, so these are things you have to go through as a player. (MacLean) has talked to me about that.
“Yeah, they could put me with offensive guys and we can score goals, but does that make me a better player? I’m not sure. I’m trying to work at it. I’m just trying to round my game out and get better at the things I’m bad at.”
Sounds like a player who is incredibly self-aware about his age, the prospect of diminishing production, and his leadership.
But as a reminder to fans, this is also the same story that has been written about Jason since Jacques Martin referred to hockey as a man’s game.
I’ve been a proponent of Spezza’s for a number of years now – essentially since the team went into the shitter following their 2007 Cup Finals appearance and he became a lightning rod of criticism thanks to his big contract, some untimely turnovers, and this perpetuated nonsense that the Sens would be better off without him.
Admittedly, Spezza has never had the greatest acumen for playing defensive hockey, however, his ability to drive the play and win faceoffs has more than made up for these shortcomings. So long as he put up points and possessed the puck more than the opposing lines that he was matched up against, he was fine.
As some have pointed out, Spezza’s still producing at a point-per-game clip – thanks in part to some inflated goals per 60 and points per 60 rates, which you can probably attribute to those two consecutive games against New Jersey and Detroit in which he tallied 4 goals and 6 points – but he’s no longer driving play.