While it might feel like Deja-Vu, life without Jason Spezza will be different this time around.
You may recall that Ottawa was sitting in a playoff spot on Dec 26, 2010 when Kris Letang hit Spezza from behind and caused a shoulder injury that forced him to miss about two months.
The team fell apart after the injury and went on a tailspin of epic proportions that led to the rebuild that the team finds itself at the tail end of at the moment.
While many of the players have changed, the biggest difference between that Senators team and the Senators team of today is the man in charge.
Paul MacLean in just his second year on the job has control of the dressing room and seems to have his finger very much on the pulse of the lineup at any given time. While Cory Clouston looked like a deer in the headlights when the Titanic began sinking, MacLean seems unflappable behind the bench and has the ability to adapt on the fly in any situation. It seems like he has the presence to not let the team in front of him fail.
While Spezza might miss more than half of the shortened season, the Senators are deeper in talent this time around, and that is one reason why they are more capable of stemming the tide and avoiding the deep drop in the standings.
Paul MacLean’s personality and demeanor is a biggest reason why.