After winning an opening-round series against Montreal on Thursday, GM Bryan Murray took to the airwaves on Friday morning and made a big announcement — last year’s leading scorer, Jason Spezza, appears close to a return from back surgery.
“He’s skating much harder, competing much better, and feeling much stronger,” Murray told The Team 1200 on Friday. “Skating with the Black Aces is a more serious involvement for him.”
Ottawa has a healthy contingent of Black Aces — the team’s current taxi squad — with AHL Binghamton out of Calder Cup playoff contention.
It’s a deep, talented group that includes three of Ottawa’s last four first-round draft picks: Cody Ceci, Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel.
Spezza, who finished fourth in the NHL in points (84) last year, underwent surgery to fix a herniated disc on Feb. 1.
He hasn’t played since and still needs to knock off a few layers of rust before head coach Paul MacLean considers putting him back in the lineup, according to Murray.
“He’s got to practice a few times with the team before Paul thinks about making a change,” Murray said. “But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.