Jason Spezza and the Senators get on the same page after rumor-filled summer

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GYI0060050577-spezza-fiume-getty.jpgThe weird and wild summer of Jason Spezza that saw him go from potentially wanting to be out of Ottawa after some rough handling at the hands of Senators fans to saying that he loves Ottawa and never wanted to be dealt has finally been squared away. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun tells us that Spezza and Sens GM Bryan Murray have aired their grievances and Ottawa’s own version of Festivus can finally be over.

“We had a really good meeting in the middle of the summer,” Murray said Saturday. “We had a real good discussion and maybe there was a little bit of exaggeration on my part when I made a couple of comments that he wanted out.

“He just wants, like a lot of players, to be important and to feel that we understand what he wants to be (during) his career and what he’s capable of being. We’ve got a guy who is committed to the Ottawa Senators.”

Murray said Spezza doesn’t have to be superhuman.

“We need him to be Jason Spezza,” said Murray. “The ability level that this guy has is pretty high in comparison to a lot of players in the league. We just want him to be that.

It’s great that both sides have finally put their differences aside and have avoided having another potentially ugly Dany Heatley like scenario unfold in Ottawa, but you can’t help but wonder if maybe Spezza’s mental mettle isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

If you want to read between the lines a bit, Murray’s words are rather curious considering his statement about how much Spezza wants to “feel important” to the team. After all, Spezza is the team’s first line center and he’s generally the guy setting up Daniel Alfredsson. Perhaps Mike Fisher’s breakout-like season got to his ego because Fisher became a bit of a fan favorite in Ottawa and not just because he’s got a famous girlfriend. It’s all crazy and speculative but something worth keeping an eye on with expectations being a bit higher now for the Senators after finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference last year.

(Photo: Greg Fiume – Getty Images)

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
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Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

 

Senators get Kyle Turris back on Saturday

Ottawa Senators' Kyle Turris celebrates his game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.

After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.

Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.