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
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.
END >> Back to top