No Olympic Love For Jason Spezza?


One of my first posts as a young upstart blogger over two years ago, was an article about whether or not Jason Spezza‘s shoulder injury and its impact on the Senators’ season would equate to Spezza getting some respect around the league (and in Ottawa for that matter) as a top level player.

Apr 5, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza (19) skates with the puck on a breakaway in the third period against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place. The Bruins defeated the Senators, 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Well, circumstances now dictate another similar post.  One year away from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and the projections are starting to come out.  I did my own version last week.

I took a look at 9 lists, ranging from Sun Media, TSN, Globe and Mail, National Post.

In all those listings, there were 9 different individual sets of players, including my own.  Seven forwards appear on all 9 lists:  Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, Corey Perry, Rick Nash and Eric Staal.

Others, such as Patrice Bergeron, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, and Jordan Eberle were on more than half of the lists.

One name noticeably absent from every list (except for my own) – Jason Spezza.

How can a player of his stature, entering or in his prime, be left out of the conversation completely?  Have people really overlooked the importance he has on the Senators?  When last time he was out for an extended period of time, the result was the blowing up of the team because of their record in the month and a half that he missed.

And stats don’t mean everything but Speza:

  • ranks 2nd among all active Canadian players in points per game (Crosby)
  • is 4th in active Canadian players in assists per game (Crosby, Thornton, Getzlaf)
  • was 3rd leading scorer among Canadian players last season (Stamkos, Giroux)
  • Is a +80 player over his career, despite being known as a more offensive player
  • Consistently over 50% in faceoffs the last 4 years

I am not saying he should be a lock for the team, as there are a lot of very talented forwards out of Canada that will contend for a roster spot.  But shouldn’t he at least be in the conversation?

Hopefully this injury doesn’t have the same effect on the Senators as his injury just after Christmas 2011 had, but it would also go a long way to proving to the hockey world that despite his reputation as a very good player, he deserves to be in the realm of the elite around the league.

Perhaps I am biased, and perhaps injury played a role in his being left off everyone’s list, but Crosby doesn’t exactly have a great track record of health lately.