At first glance, the loss of Jason Spezza would appear to be a massive blow to the Ottawa Senators. Spezza, who was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday for a herniated disc in his back, finished fourth in league scoring last season (84 points in 80 games) and even earned a mention or two in Hart Trophy conversations. He has also become a leader in the room, the odds-on favourite to be the next captain of this team. You don't lose a player like that and just carry on, do you? Well, maybe. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Senators have done just fine without No. 19 in the lineup over the years. If you chop out Spezza's rookie NHL season, during which he spent more than two months with AHL Binghamton, the Senators are a tidy 45-33-7 for a .571 points percentage when he's been sidelined. With him, the team's record is only marginally better at 299-206-73 (.580 points percentage). So, according to the numbers at least, it's not the end of the world, and the team certainly doesn't consider it a crisis situation. In fact, head coach Paul MacLean insisted he was "excited" at the prospect of life after Spezza. "We're actually excited about the fact that it's a great opportunity, not only for individuals, but for the team to play," he said following the morning skate in Raleigh Friday. "That's what we're concerned about, is the games and who we have available to play the games, not necessarily who's out as who's in, and let's come and let's play hard." That said, he admitted Spezza is a special player who can generate offence out of thin air. "We don't have someone like that to go in there, but we certainly feel very confident with the depth of our team and our ability to play four lines and to play with tempo," he explained.
Senators not panicking sans Spezza
Ottawa Citizen | Feb 2