Jason Spezza

MacLean says Spezza won’t be ready for start of Round 2

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Now that Jason Spezza is skating with the Ottawa Senators’ “Black Aces” at practice, everyone in Ottawa is wondering if he might be ready to play in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sens coach Paul MacLean is making sure to not get anyone’s hopes up as Ian Mendes of Sportsnet reports. Is there a chance he’ll play?

“No, not in my mind,” MacLean said on Saturday morning when asked about Spezza being available for the start of the second round. “I don’t know what the hope is, but he is in a rehab process. And that process has him skating. To me, it’s a long way away.”

Spezza has been out since late January with a herniated disc in his back. It was believed his season was finished after having the operation in February to repair it, but now that he’s returned to skating hopes are rising. Let’s see him get back to actually practicing with the team before thinking he could be back.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever

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Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…