Image (1) Spezza-thumb-200x300-14084.jpg for post 2155

Jason Spezza expects to play for Senators Saturday

To put things lightly, the Ottawa Senators haven’t been doing very well lately. They’re currently on an eight game losing streak and only have one win in their last 14 games.

Here’s one little ray of light for the hapless Sens, though: Jason Spezza is expected to return to action Saturday after missing the last 15 games with a shoulder injury. Perhaps it only makes sense that Ottawa has gone 2-9-4 in those contests without their best playmaking center.

Spezza scored nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 32 games, which is well below his point per game career average. (It’s also the lowest point per game total since he saw limited action in his first season in 2002-03.)

Ottawa is currently 15 points out of a playoff spot right now, which is far from an insurmountable gap, but you have to wonder if the Senators are hoping this might be an audition for the trade deadline.

There are some drawbacks to trading for Spezza, as he brings a heavy $7 million salary cap hit with him for the next four seasons. Yet a cost-conscious team might see the benefits of the fact that his salary goes from $8 million per year in 2011-12 and 12-13 to only $5 million in 13-14 and $4 million in 14-15.

That up-front cost is pretty hefty, especially for a player whose defensive play is spotty at best. Still, there’s reason to believe that a team like the Los Angeles Kings might be somewhat intrigued to add his world-class passing skills.

Either way, the Senators will be happy to see Spezza come back.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

Leave a comment

On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

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.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
1 Comment

Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

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:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.