Jason Spezza wants to stay in Ottawa… Sort of

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jspezza.jpgEarlier today, James took you down the developing ugly path in Ottawa surrounding Jason Spezza and his unhappiness in Ottawa. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? After all, this is kind of how things got going for Dany Heatley last season. Although Spezza has come out and said that he doesn’t want to be traded from Ottawa, he doesn’t sound all that convincing either.

While making an appearance in Toronto to promote a charitable endeavour to help underprivileged children play hockey, Spezza was asked, point-blank: “Do you want to go back to the Ottawa Senators?”

“Yeah,” he said, stammering before a media relations attaché ended the line of questioning.

Well that’s just comically awkward and kind of fitting for how things have broken down throughout the history of the Ottawa Senators. Dany Heatley, Ray Emery and Alexandre Daigle were all big time players for the Senators who also had big time mental shakedowns. Maybe we’re wrong here but when you think hockey cities that would be a “media pressure cooker” you don’t usually think of Ottawa being at the top of the list. Perhaps the Senators should have a team psychologist on hand.

Then again, perhaps craziness is contagious, at least that’s what you’d think if you saw that the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson suggested that the Oilers mix it up with the Senators in trade talks this summer for Spezza.

With the Ottawa Senators’ Jason Spezza seemingly disgruntled with his lot in life in the nation’s capital, here’s how the Oilers might solve the Taylor vs. Tyler debate.

Draft winger Taylor Hall on June 25 with their No. 1 pick at the NHL entry draft, pass on centre Tyler Seguin and trade for Spezza later.

The Senators would almost assuredly take the same three players that were on the table for winger Dany Heatley last summer — Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid — in exchange for Spezza, who would become the Oilers’ much-needed first-line centre.

Being a nut for huge trades, I would love to have things break down like this, especially with the way it could potentially make the Bruins twist and turn at the draft when it comes to the whole draft debate. Using the same pieces the Oilers were going to use in a deal for Dany Heatley, however, just comes off as lazy rumor mongering. This would also bank on having the Senators both be OK with dealing their top centerman and running with Mike Fisher as their new top guy in the middle. Call me crazy, but I don’t imagine most teams would be cool with having a  45-55 point per year man as their top center.
While I’m sure that Matheson is just spit-balling ideas here in what is akin to the doldrums of summer for a hockey writer, perhaps erasing the name “Heatley” off all those stories from last year and replacing it with “Spezza” should be better left to other less-reputable sources.

 

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.