A year after Dany Heatley forced a trade out of Ottawa – but only to the teams he wanted to play for – it looked like disgruntled center Jason Spezza might follow a similar path. After all, Senators fans booed the talented but defensively questionable forward during the team’s first round loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year’s playoffs.
While the Senators centre told GM Bryan Murray he wouldn’t “object” to being dealt, the Senators couldn’t find any dance partners before Spezza’s “no move” clause kicked in at midnight Thursday.
He certainly won’t be traded after Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk stroked a cheque for a $4-million bonus owed to Spezza.
Murray said he studied the market for Spezza and a deal that made sense.
“Throw cold water on it,” said Murray. “As of today, there’s nothing happening with Jason Spezza other than he’s a member of the Ottawa Senators. We have had conversations leading up to (Thursday).
“I understand his frustration. I do. He’s a player that has really good talent and he wants to be on a winning hockey team. He was frustrated at the end of the year because the finger was pointed a little too much at him and maybe also the fact we didn’t beat Pittsburgh in the first round.
“As of right now, my thoughts are going forward.”
General managers are often quick to shoot down rumors – even if there secretly were talks on the subject in question – so it’s surprising that Murray has been so candid about the process. Such a stance implies (to me, anyway) that Spezza is still on the market in many ways.
That being said, the rumor mill regarding the potent passer should die down. For a little while, at least.
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: