In what I figure is odd timing to sit out players for what the coach calls “precautionary measures” both Jason Spezza and Jared Cowen will be scratched for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Cody Ceci will return to the lineup to replace Cowen after he was scratched last night, while Jean-Gabriel Pageau was called up from the Binghamton Senators to take Spezza’s spot on the roster.
The timing is peculiar as each game is absolute must-win, and losing even a single point in the standings would eliminate any faint glimmer of playoff hopes that the Senators might have. While Cowen has had a down year and might be replaceable in the lineup, sitting Spezza for Pageau is a downgrade at this point.
That is, if they are indeed “precautionary” sittings. MacLean said they might even be probable for Wednesday’s game against New Jersey. If it is more serious than that and they are too injured to contribute, then say that. If they are just resting bumps and bruises then it is a serious mistake and the players should be in the lineup and sink or swim with the team that gives you the best chance to win.
Players have been playing hurt all season (Bobby Ryan, Spezza to name a couple) to the point where I suggested shutting Spezza down two weeks before the Olympic break to have him healthy for the stretch run, if that would help.
Now, 8 games before the conclusion of the season is a weird time to make this type of move. Or at least to minimize how badly they are hurting.