The Ottawa Senators have unprecedented depth up the middle on their roster. That depth will be put to the test for the coming weeks and maybe months as their #1 centre, Jason Spezza, has elected to undergo surgery on his back. He has a history of back trouble, and this injury is concerning for the present and the future of one of the game’s top offensive players.
The official announcement will come at 11:00 this morning, but you don’t call a press conference to say that your star is doing some physio to help the ailment. Rumours circulating have the injury lasting anywhere from 2-4 weeks or even the entire season.
UPDATE: SURGERY FOR A HERNIATED DISC TO BE PERFORMED ON FRIDAY, NO TIMETABLE FOR A RETURN. MURRAY IS HOPEFUL FOR A RETURN BEFORE OR DURING THE PLAYOFFS.
While we wish Jason Spezza a speedy recovery and return to action, we turn our attention to the replacements.
Kyle Turris becomes the #1 option, and he will likely stick with Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson. The door is wide open for Mika Zibanejad to step in as the #2 centre, Zack Smith can remain the #3 and Jim O’Brien the #4. Zibanejad has impressed in his two games, and his emergence takes the news of Spezza’s injury from disastrous and possibly season-upending for the Senators, to merelyrequiring a shifting of roles.
The Senators have won the two games that Spezza has missed prior to today’s announcement. That is a good sign going forward, but there will be games that come along where he will definitely be missed for his offensive production, faceoff ability and leadership.