Jason Spezza wants to stay in Ottawa… Sort of


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.


Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.