For Jason Spezza, a chance to play for Canada at next month's world championships isn't about finding a silver lining in an otherwise dismal season.
He's aiming higher than that.
"For me, the gold medal is the motivation," Spezza said Wednesday, musing about the possibility of playing at the tournament in Slovakia, which runs from April 29 — May 15. "I have two (world championship) silver medals. I would really like to win the gold medal."
Spezza was also shut out of the top prize in his three world junior tournaments, capturing a silver and two bronze medals.
Just the same, the Senators' top centre isn't taking anything for granted. The official announcement of a management team will be Thursday in Toronto and it's believed that Dave Nonis, the Toronto Maple Leafs' senior vice-president of hockey operations, will serve as Canada's general manager.
The squad won't be announced until the end of the NHL regular season, when playoff matchups have been set and players from non-playoff bound teams are asked to represent their countries. While the Senators haven't officially been eliminated from the post-season, they remain dead last in the Eastern Conference and 29th overall in the NHL standings before Thursday's home game against the hard-charging New Jersey Devils.
It's hardly a stretch to suggest that Spezza, who has scored six goals and 13 assists in 18 games since returning from his shoulder injury, would be on the team.
For one, he's anxious to play, which is never a given for many players who hesitate to accept an invitation because they're mentally and physically drained or battling injuries following an unsuccessful run to the playoffs.
"I missed 20 games and I feel good now," he said. "Hopefully, I get the call, but stuff like that is out of my hands."
Spezza acknowledges that the world championships can drag on a bit — "a lot of people don't realize that it's like going to the third round of the playoffs" — but says team chemistry builds as the world championships continue.
Spezza aims to play at world championships
Ottawa Citizen | Mar 17