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Ottawa’s Jason Spezza set to return on Saturday

It’s been a rough year for the Senators. They’re in last place in the Northeast Division, they’ve lost 14 of their last 15 games including eight in a row after losing to Detroit 7-5 last night. Things are joyless in Canada’s capital city but there’s a reason to smile coming up on Saturday.

No, they’re not firing everyone responsible for this mess. Instead, top centerman Jason Spezza is set to make his return to the Sens lineup against the Islanders on Saturday night. Spezza has been out since December 26th after being checked hard into the boards against Pittsburgh. Ottawa’s offense hasn’t been the same since he’s been out and whether or not it’s a coincidence, the team has only won one game since he’s been out. Their stretch of 15 games with just one win coincides with Spezza’s absence.

Ottawa is 15 points behind Atlanta for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Safe to say that this recent run by the Senators have sunk their hopes of the playoffs. They haven’t been helped by bad goaltending and inefficient offense but it’s a remarkable coincidence that the team began playing so absolutely terrible without Jason Spezza. Whether Ottawa is in full tank mode or not we’ll have to wait and see. Spezza should at least be able to help Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson snap out of their funk.

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.