Senators could part ways with Jason Spezza, Anton Volchenkov

crosbybeatsspezza.jpgThe Ottawa Senators face another summer of trade/free agency rumors and there seems to be a little fire to go with the smoke.

TSN reports that Senators GM Bryan Murray confirmed that while Jason Spezza didn’t go out of his way to request a trade, he wouldn’t “object” to one either. That’s like two horny teenagers saying they wouldn’t mind seeing each other naked.

Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza ‘wouldn’t object’ to a trade if it happened, general manager Bryan Murray told reporters on Monday.

“He said he wouldn’t object to it,” Murray said. “He didn’t come in and say, ‘I have to be traded.’ He didn’t object to the fact that maybe it’s time – the way (he’s) been received – now maybe it’s time.”

Spezza has been the subject of trade rumours and speculation after the Senators since the team was elimiated in the first round of the playoffs. Adding more intrigue was a small fan rally on Parliament Hill over the weekend urging the Murray to keep the club’s No. 1 centre.

The story refers to the sparsely attended “Save Spezza” rally. It seems like even when Senators fans try to show their support for the disgruntled playmaking center, it ultimately comes off as a backhanded compliment. Personally, I enjoy watching him play, but considering his $7.5 million cap hit, it’s easy to understand why fans get frustrated with his lack of defensive commitment and abundant turnovers.

Murray also confirmed rumors that shot-blocking defenseman Anton Volchenkov is expected to depart the team via unrestricted free agency. Earlier this summer, I heard that the Capitals could be potential suitors; really, I think any team that needs a rugged, second-tier shutdown guy would greatly benefit from adding Volchenkov.

Expect all kinds of news this week as the NHL awards, Hall of Fame inductions and NHL Draft take place. We’ll keep you up-to-date every day, so say tuned.

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    Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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    While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

    Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

    Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
    Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
    Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
    Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

    The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

    So, where is Krejci’s game now?

    Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

    So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

    On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

    So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

    “It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

    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