In a year of unfulfilled expectations for the Senators, Jason Spezza is inevitably going to shoulder a lot of the blame because he is the captain and he just happened to the guy who inherited the letter in the wake of Daniel Alfredsson’s departure.
Criticisms of Spezza’s leadership aren’t anything new. Hell, criticisms of Spezza aren’t anything new either. The man’s been under the microscope since the moment he was drafted and Jacques Martin referred to him as a boy trying to play in a league comprised of men.
He’s easily the most polarizing player in this franchise’s modern history.
It goes with the territory, Spezza’s put up with a lot of shit (and even shittier linemates) over the years and to his credit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard him ever complain about it. But when asked yesterday about his future with the organization, Spezza was mum on the topic.
— Dan Séguin (@SeguinSports) April 10, 2014
I don’t blame the guy for wanting to talk about it. His record in Ottawa speaks for itself. He’s the best center who has ever played for this franchise, but many are too consumed by what he wasn’t rather than embrace the creative offensive brilliance and bring you out of your seats moments that he provided us with.
So long as the benefits of his offence outweighed the warts in his game, what else could anyone ask of him?
Sadly, the legitimate reasons for wanting to move Spezza (ie. age, style, health, risk of diminishing terms, a finite budget) are now being drowned out by people belittling Spezza’s leadership skills like they have any idea what goes on behind the scenes, behind closed doors or in the minds of his teammates. And if you want to read more about it, I encourage you to read Ian Mendes’ TSN blog post about it.
It’s a lazy narrative and one that isn’t even necessary.
If people want to discuss the impact of Daniel Alfredsson, start by assessing the damage done by the organization in letting their captain go and the explanation for why he left.
Leadership has a trickle down effect through an organization and it starts at the top.
For those still keeping tabs on the Senators’ fortunes in hopes that they keep winning games and worsening the mathematical probability that the Anaheim Ducks will not win the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery with the Senators’ first round selection, last night’s game was cathartic.
However, the biggest takeaway from the game is that center Mika Zibanejad did not take a shift following the 15:30 mark of the third period. More importantly, it was later revealed that Zibanejad was taken to the hospital following the game for precautionary reasons.
Zibanejad did not partake in practice today, however he was present for the end of the season team photograph. Indications are that whatever has affected him will keep him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season.
Given that he was sent to the hospital for precautionary reasons, it’s instinctive to think that his injury pertains to some kind of head or heart-related problem. Mika has endured a number of concussions in the past (here and here), so it would not be surprising if this was the root of his problems. For the player’s sake and for his friends, family and fans, I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.
Turris and Methot Answer the Call
Having missed the playoffs, a number of Senators players will have the opportunity to represent their respective countries at this year’s World Championships in Belarus.
Par Marts was reportedly in New York last week watching the Senators take on the Rangers, setting off expectations that Swedes like Erik Karlsson, Mika Zibanejad and Robin Lehner would be receiving invitations.
A number of Canadians on the Senators roster however have received invitations.
Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris and Marc Methot have been invited to world’s. Methot and Turris are going. MacArthur doesn’t know. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) April 11, 2014
Turris and Methot have accepted those invitations, but as Wayne Scanlan mentioned on Twitter, Clarke MacArthur is a Canadian living in the United States, so he has green card issues. In order to participate, he would have to fill out the requisite paperwork to make it work, so he may just skip the competition altogether.
Paul MacLean’s name has been bandied about as a candidate to be the team’s coach, but there has been no indication on whether he’s the frontrunner for the job.