Jason Spezza is taking the 'A' on his jersey to heart.

As the clock ticks down on a season of struggle for the Senators, the club's top centre is trying to find ways contribute, trying to find ways to make a difference and trying to find ways to lead by example.

The last couple of months haven't been easy for anybody in the Senators' dressing room. But they have been particularly hard on Spezza, who's watched friends sent packing one by one.

GM Bryan Murray shipped the likes of veterans Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Jarkko Ruutu, Ale Kovalev, Brian Elliott and Chris Campoli as the Senators went in a new, younger direction.

"I've had a lot of good friends that have left. Guys that I've spent a lot of time with," said Spezza. "Chris Kelly was my best buddy on the team. (Fisher) and I played together for a long time.

"You get close relationships outside of the game. It's tough. We saw it coming. We didn't know how extreme it would be, but it doesn't make it any easier."

Management decisions have also thrust Spezza into a leadership role. So have injuries to his teammates. Captain Daniel Alfredsson is likely gone for the rest of the season with a bad back, while linemate Milan Michalek has a broken foot.

Now centring rookies Colin Greening and Bobby Butler, the 27-year-old Spezza has become a mentor.

He has eight points in the past seven games and set up another rookie, Erik Condra's, for the game-winner Tuesday in New Jersey.