A year after Dany Heatley forced a messy divorce with the Ottawa Senators, rumors are swirling that talented-but-frustrating center Jason Spezza might want a trade too. After all, he must have a bad taste in his mouth after home fans booed him toward the end of the team’s first round match with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The shifty playmaker commands a hefty $7 million contract that runs through the 2014-15 season, so his team might be just as interested in moving him as Spezza could be to leave. For their part, both parties are saying the right things. The National Post shares that Spezza claims he wants to be back in Ottawa while Senators GM Bryan Murray thinks that things will settle down as emotions subside during the summer.
“I got an impression that he was quite unhappy at the end,” Senators general manager Bryan Murray told Sportsnet in regards to his season-ending meeting with Spezza. “I think the coverage he felt he got and the fan reaction a couple of times left him kind of wanting a little bit. But I don’t think it’s anything beyond that. My next conversation with him will be away from the emotion of playoff time to see what we can do and what we have to do.”
While Spezza said his meeting with Murray was confidential, he hinted that he was unhappy with the response he received from fans.
“There’s always things that happen at the end of the year,” said Spezza, who finished the season with 23 goals and 57 points in 60 games. “Just kind of airing out what I thought and what he thought. It’s always good to have conversations and good communications.”
Despite being a bit leaky on the defensive side of the ice, Spezza produced some nice results at times last season. He was just short of a point per game with 57 points in 60 games and contributed greatly during the Senators sporadic hot streaks.
Can the team really withstand the loss of 2/3 of what was once perhaps the best line in hockey (Heatley, Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson)? At the same time, Spezza is a pricey player, even for his solid production. It sounds like this situation is a lot healthier than the Heatley fiasco, but that doesn’t mean Spezza’s guaranteed to be a Senator in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.
Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.