Jan 18, 2014; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot (33) blocks a shot from Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza (19) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Rangers defeated the Senators 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

It's Time To Shut Ottawa Senators Captain Jason Spezza Down Until After The Olympics

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There is no doubt that Jason Spezza is a world class talent and one of the best players in the NHL.  Check that.  There is no doubt that a HEALTHY Spezza is that.

Give him credit for trying, but right now, Spezza is not healthy.  I watched him during a first period shift against the Rangers, and he simply can’t skate at the level he needs to be to be effective.  His back, or hip simply hasn’t recovered to the point where he can do the things he is used to doing, and it is hurting the team. Whatever it is, it also has had a big effect on his faceoff ability as well.  Since he returned from his most recent absence, he has been over 50% just once in 5 games, and has been under 40% 3 times.  That is noticeable because he is still at 55% on the season, so it has been quite a dropoff.

The solution, in my mind, is to shut him down until after the Olympic break.  With 2 lines going pretty well on most nights and a Zack Smith line that has been pretty effective, a 50% Spezza isn’t required.

The Senators have 10 games remaining between now and the Olympic break.  Those 10 games could will be important for the playoff race, but won’t likely make or break the Senators chances.  And Spezza, playing as he looks right now, isn’t going to be a difference maker in that push.

If the Senators were to shut him down today, it would be 5 and a half weeks until their first game following the Olympic break.  I’m not a doctor, but given the fact he is still playing, that should be plenty of time to allow him to rehab whatever is ailing him to get to the point where he is close to 100%, and at that point he could be a positive influence on the team and create the type of offensive chances we are accustomed to.

 

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