Make the case that head coach Ken Hitchcock owes Jason Spezza the generous ice time afforded him in the opening game of the world hockey championship and the name on the back of the No. 19 jersey becomes more important than the crest on the front.

That's clearly not the way Team Canada conducts its business at this tournament. A player assumes the role he is given, whether he plays it in the National Hockey League or not, whether it's in his comfort zone or not, and whether he expects more or less ice time is irrelevant. It can also change game-to-game or in the case of Spezza, year-to-year.

In 2008, playing for Hitchcock mostly on the bottom two lines, Spezza managed only three points in nine games. He came back in 2009 to first-line duty and power-play time for head coach Lindy Ruff and delivered 11 points.

More important than the contrasts in point totals though is the fact each trip was unsatisfying, ending as they did in silver medals. Spezza is back this year, not on a quest for the 16: 25 Hitchcock had him playing in all situations against Belarus on Friday, third among Canadian forwards, but for the gold medal that has eluded Canada since 2007.

Players don't come here to be satisfied with the way they play, at least the ones who understand the obligation and appreciate the privilege. They come here to win by playing the way they should and where they are asked. Spezza comes to this tourney whenever called and healthy and is keenly aware that whatever happens to his ice time and his role can be the price of admission to a very special event.

"One game early in the tournament, I was on the fourth line, playing a checking role," Spezza recalled Friday. "Last tournament, I was first power play and scoring goals in that role. I think it makes you a better player.