Jason Spezza - The Iceman Cometh

SPEZZA SCORES EARLY, OFTEN
by Chris Yzerman

After appearing in just 33 games last season, Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza made it a point of sticking around for the long haul this year.

His point was received loud and clear, little more than five minutes into the new season. The 20-year-old scored the Senators’ first goal of the year at 5:10 of the first period in an Oct. 9 season-opening victory over the Montreal Canadiens before a sellout crowd of 18,500 at the Corel Centre.

The goal, coming on a power play after a pass from behind the net by Radek Bonk, emphatically stated that not only was the second-year player in the opening-night lineup for the first time, but that any debate over whether or not he finally belonged in the NHL after two previous years of trying was finally over.

“It was good,” Spezza said of scoring on Canadiens goaltender José Théodore. “You always want to get the first one out of the way and get it going.”

The former first-round draft pick would later add an assist on a goal by linemate Daniel Alfredsson to cap his night.

In the second game of the season, two nights later against the Detroit Red Wings, Spezza was at it again.

He intercepted a pass by Red Wings defenceman Mathieu Schneider and, in spectacular fashion, whipped a quick shot over the shoulder of Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek.

“I kind of read (the play) a little bit and (Schneider’s pass) hit me in the stick,” Spezza told the Ottawa Citizen. “But you have to take advantage of every scoring chance you get in this league.”

Spezza scored seven times last season. Based on his early performance, it won’t take him long to eclipse that mark. Or to erase any lingering doubts of where he belongs.

“Every time I’m out there, I want to prove I belong here and that I can help this team,” he told the Citizen after opening night.

 


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First Round Draft Pick - 2001 Entry Draft
Jason Spezza
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Photo: Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI
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