Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Spezza's Injury is his Best Move of the Early Season

As we all know, Jason Spezza had a start to the disappointing season. Since the departure of Dany Heatley, Spez hasn't been able to find his swagger and be as effective we'd like. Sure his defensive game has improved but he hasn't found the twine that we pay for. He was able to answer a slow season by saying he's had slow starts before, but unable to pick it up, he'd been facing more media scrutiny along with a bad back.

And then he gets hurt. For a while. Shoot.

At first I was scared. Despite a slow start, I still expected our goofy gun to pick it up and take hold of our offense at some point. I thought to myself, "how are we ever going to win without our #1 centre?" Then our hero, our captain, our top forward Daniel Alfredsson goes down too! NOOOO! But I digress, since this post isn't about Alfie as I don't like to even think about him being out of our line up. Back to thoughts on Spezza - "how are we ever going to win without our #1 centre?" But so far, not bad. The team, and its balanced attack, is plugging holes and making it work. Phew.

So then I took a breathe - face it, I'm out of shape - and looked at the silver lining of it all. While we can't predict when a key asset will fall to injury, it may be the best time of all for Spezza.

First of all, giving time for Spezza's leg injury to heal, also gives his back a rest. While he missed minimal time due to this unspoken injury, it was clearly nagging. I love that he went out and gave it his all, but his all with a bogus back was obviously not working. Hopefully he's sleeping on a bed of nails - the old remedy will not only help the cause but might add some toughness. Bonus!

Secondly, and more obviously, some significant time out of the line up may be the breather Jason needs to regroup and get his mental game back on track. No matter how well or how poor we do with him in the press box, we're all going to be pretty psyched for his return. How will that not get him jacked? Plus, the needed rest from aches and the media will provide reflection time to get it going. Double Bonus!

This is all pretty easy to consider when we're winning games as we have been. But the month of January is going to be a beast and tough to stay afloat above the deep waters of .500 hockey without Spez and Alfie. But assuming they do, what does Spezza walk back into?

1. A team that's found chemistry and a way to win without their star players.
2. The media, and fans that aren't desperate for his return, taking pizza-loads of pressure off his rested shoulders.
3. The luxury of pacing his way back into game shape without the urgency to perform immediately.
4. A giddy Milan Michalek who can't wait to resume his scoring touch.

All that and a healthy body and rested mind to boot? Spez, why didn't you get hurt in early November? I'm kidding of course. But this injury may be the best thing to happen to Spezza since winning the Ring Toss at the Ex.

Now for question period....

Am I crazy? Can Spez's injury actually be positive? Or are would it have been better to have him in the line up this whole time, and for the month to come?

Can the Sens keep the train rolling in until the Olympic break without Spez (and, of course, Alfie)? Our friend Gerald Norton at SenSay suggests we need a 0.618 winning percentage (26 points) from Sunday until the Olympics. Love the enthusiasm, but can this line up do it?

And finally, do you think Spez will regain his scoring touch/dominance once fully healthy?


duff said...

It is an interesting angle, that Spezza going down and getting some rest has some silver lining. It, along with the Alfredsson injury, has obviously been a rallying point for the team, a self-pitying motivation to work harder and win games.

I can't help but worry, though, that when all is said and done and the 6-8 weeks go by (we're basically without both guys until March, considering the Olympic Break is five weeks away), we're going to have suffered.

I have the luxury of writing this after the Bruins game when we looked brutal and our defensive coverage continues to struggle. I hope that this team can maintain that rallying point for another month or so...

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