As far as facing his longtime team the Ottawa Senators goes, it sounds like Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza is pretty pleased with how the schedule panned out.
For one thing, he noted to NHL.com that these games are coming in January when he’s more acquainted with his teammates, rather than October or November. It probably helps to host his former teammates tonight before making what will probably be a far more emotionally trying visit to Ottawa on Jan. 29.
“It’s nice that it’s January. I’m a Dallas Star now,” Spezza said. “I feel like these guys are my teammates. You get tight, you get on the road, you become part of the team. If it was November, it would probably be a little different, you’re still kind of finding your way around. I think I was fortunate the game’s not being playing until January. It’s more I was excited to see the guys coming into town. There’s some guys I played with for a long time over there, so it was nice to catch up just to see where they’re at.”
Spezza doesn’t believe that he “shocked anyone that was close” to him in the locker room and beyond by wanting out of Ottawa.
The 31-year-old played for Ottawa from the 2002-03 season until 2013-14, enjoying two 90+ point seasons, becoming their captain and being an integral part of deep playoff runs (including a trip to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final). That success must have felt distant as Spezza asked out, and likely feels that way to Senators fans today.
Now Spezza hopes to help the Stars fight their way back into the playoff mix after a bumpy beginning to the 2014-15 season. As you can see below, it’s been a learning process for the veteran after all those years in Ottawa.