Hockey Canada sent out its invitation to 47 players to attend their orientation camp next month ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics it Sochi. Perhaps the most notable name absent from the invite list was that of Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza. While I have said before that he might not end up making the team, for him not to get invited to the camp is an absolute insult.
This is a player who has answered the call for Canada every time they have asked, and at 31, is still in his prime. Two seasons ago, he led the underdog Senators, who many picked to finish dead last in the league, to the playoffs and was 4th among all scorers league-wide. Looking at the names on the list, there are many worthy names, but at this point in their careers would you rather have Spezza or Matt Duchene? Spezza or Taylor Hall? Is Eric Staal any better than Spezza?
You could argue that the status of Spezza could be called into question because of the injury that forced him to miss most of the season. But Staal is on the list, and he is still recovering from the devastating knee on knee collision at the World Championships.
Like I said, Spezza wouldn’t and shouldn’t be a lock to make the team, because there are a lot of very talented centres. But with what he has accomplished in his career that isn’t even close to the end, surely he deserves the respect of an invitation to the Orientation camp.
I hope Spezza takes it as an insult and comes back next season with a chip on his shoulder to prove to Steve Yzerman and the rest of the Canadian Brass that he was and is deserving of at least being in consideration for a spot on the roster.