To say I have sympathy for Jason Spezza and his treatment by the fans and media would be more than an overstatement. He is a professional athlete who is being more than fairly recompensed for his abilities. He is expected to conduct himself with maturity and decorum in interviews and on the town, play flawless shift after flawless shift and answer for himself and his teammates when things do not proceed according to immense expectation. All the above is well and good, and Spezza himself understands better than anyone the level of scrutiny, judgement and expectation that follows a superstar in a one-team city. But while the criticism levelled at Spezza is fair to a point, certain accusations about his character and commitment often reach such absurdity that I feel compelled to defend the Senators offensive catalyst.
Jason Spezza is a weak player who avoids contact and plays like a pussy.
The Senators should trade Spezza before his NTC kicks in.
Two words: Joe Thornton. The Boston Bruins are just now recovering from the loss of their young star centre, and even then are nowhere near the team they could be with his presence. Star-for-star swaps such as the Heatley/Hossa deal are the exception rather than the rule in the NHL - is a package including borderline first line centre, flawed prospect, and a pick worth the loss of the best centre in franchise history? Spezza has his flaws, there is no doubt. As do comparable players like Getzlaf, Staal, or Crosby. Senators fans witness Spezza on a daily basis and so view his flaws with microscopic focus. But Spezza is a blossoming player who is still working to balance the creativity of his brain with the realities of the NHL, and needs help rectifying the ambition of his goals with the practical steps needed to reach them. But he also an endlessly gifted, peerlessly driven, superbly committed player who is determined to bring the Senators to glory. And no half-assed package deal could ever replicate that.