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...because everyone's seemingly desperate for something to talk about.

· Hello, Media? Sanity here. Since when is the half-baked idea of throwing Jason Spezza to the wolves considered to be new? Who are all these fans that are proclaiming that there's no place for Spezza in a complete lineup? I love how in the time that this kettle went from a simmer to a full boil, the media made it sound as if fans were burning Spezza effigies at the SBP, and placing homemade placards around Kanata condemning him (this has happened to other members of the organization in the past). I was seeking at least some of these signs -- similar to when people were calling for Jacques Martin's head. None of them were to be found.

Eventually I asked a friend where all this so-called Spezza hatred was coming from. The answer? The radio. Now I should explain that I don't listen to much of the Team these days. If anything, I may catch a bit of J.R. and Galley in the late aft, but even that tends to be sporadic. Listening to radio personalities finding hilarity in viewing women sporting Chad Johnson and Reggie Bush jerseys qualifies as a murder defense.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. Back to Spezza...

Let me get this straight: No 1. centre gets injured, team plays well without him, radio talk begins regarding player's worth, and the media reacts like this?

I get that they're desperate for something to talk about -- don't misconstrue that as sympathy, but I do understand to a degree. How does a little chatter go from restless discussion to the insinuation that Jason Spezza will be "understandably" driven to the trade-demanding diva route?

I hope others can give the kid a bit more credit than that.

Spezza knows what's expected of him. Undoubtedly he will be on a short leash when he returns, and the events of the past week have amplified his expectations and shortcomings to the nth degree. No one's debating that he needs to remain consistent, become defensively responsible and grow into a leader of the franchise. But he's also a playmaker who's 23 years old. He's going to (expletive) up, and there are plenty of other teams that are willing to have him do so in their respective uniforms.

The kid is staying -- deal with it. In the meantime, please stop fanning the flames of stupidity.

· Last Friday, I was out with The Driver running some errands, and stopped into Pesto's on Hazeldean.

(Aside: Pesto's, for those from The Land of Staalapalooza, has become my Nucci's/Maltese's replacement, although they lack a bakery. In spite of this, their gnocchi and various sauces still rate a full five Boo Boo avatars. I can't explain my joy at finding them, because I was convinced for nearly a decade that Ottawans wouldn't know an Italian deli if it smacked them upside the arse.)

Anyway, Pesto's is known in Kanata as one of those "spot the Senators" hotspots. In the near four years that I've lived out here, I have yet to see a player in the deli... until last week.

So why is a so-called media member making a big deal about seeing a player out and about?

Here's why: I didn't say a word to Fisher. In fact, I never talk to the players if I can at all help it.

For the record, he was not wearing his "Full Contact Fishing" hat. Do you think it's advisable for someone as injury-prone as No. 12 to engage in "full contact fishing"? I'd hope he'd mix in a life jacket before considering it.

Anyway, back to the story... I don't talk to the players, because it has never been essential to the column. The premise has always been to write from the fans' perspective -- fans view from afar. Generally, I'm not a fan of interviews, and rarely do I enjoy reading them -- especially those pertaining to hockey. And even when you make the effort to engage the subject in a different subject, they still can spit out the same cliches. There have been exceptions for me. Some of the most notable were the American-born players that attended the 2005 Entry Draft. Players like Jack Skille, Jack Johnson, Ryan Stoa, and yes, even Brian Lee gave wonderfully articulate and well-thought answers to my questions. I was incredibly impressed with them.

I remember reading Bill Simmons once stating that he didn't like doing interviews because it ruined the mystique -- you have one impression of a player in your head, and if you talk to them, and they let you down, it completely messes with your perception. I agree with that to a point. Unfortunately in this business, you still manage to discover things about players that disappoint you -- even without speaking a word to them -- and it alters the way you previously thought of the players.

How does everyone feel about player interviews? Is there something you'd like to know about someone that has yet to have been asked?

And finally -- who noticed during the Pats-Colts game that Phil Simms was advising the Colts that "Change is good, but bad for (Indy)" and "(Peyton Manning) must play the same, but different"? What exactly resides in that oversized melon of his? Helium? Sawdust?

More later.

9 responses to "Tuesday afternoon deglaze"

  1. I want to know the real reason why Meszaros chopped off the mullet.


  2. "No one's debating that he needs to remain consistent, become defensively responsible and grow into a leader of the franchise."

    What changed your mind? Last May you said that ..."As for Spezza, his defensive liabilities will never be an issue as long as he's producing offensively,and he was in the regular season. Playmakers like Jason give away the puck. Constantly. You take the good with the bad."

    I had mentioned this is a Sens playoff post mortem here.

    "With everything running so smoothly (in the regular season), the finer points of his game were ignored. Jason Spezza's defensive liabilities were never looked after properly."

    You seemed to refute the idea at the time.

    In four years of junior, Spezza played for 4 different organizations - Brampton, Mississauga, Windsor and Belleville, where he put up numbers without impacting his teams success much.

    In Detroit in the early 90's, Steve Yzerman had the same fate under Bryan Murray - great numbers, little playoff success.

    I see two facts clashing here. One, is Spezza has been unwilling to improve his overall game and get the dirty work done. The second is that Murray does not have what it takes to bring a top center to a better game.

    Why Ottawa is thriving without Spezza is almost obvious to me.

    Spezza has to learn what I drilled into the kids I coached - 95% of the game is played without the puck!

    He needs to dig deep and find a higher game because as long as these two are together Ottawa is doomed to repeat what happened last year.

    Time for maturity starts now. Murray has to get tough with him. Sit him when he slacks. Bench him when he refuses to listen. Tell him a trade will be no way out.

    Drill it into him - he's 6' 2", 210 - start playing like it!

    Reality Check

  3. It's convenient for you to ignore recent history for you to make an argument, RC. The last time Spezza came under this much heat (when he WAS playing) was during the early part of the season -- when he was making defensive mistakes AND not putting up Spezza-like numbers. 13 points in the first 10 games is great for most players. But five of those points came against Toronto in a single game, and yet no one was satisfied with his numbers. Everyone wanted him gone. Hell, I was coming across "trade Spezza" signs in the restrooms at the SBP during that period. For the record, I haven't seen anything like that since.

    That's why I stand by my argument -- no one's debating that Spezza needs to become more responsible with the puck, but it's a LOT easier to stomach his mistakes when he's putting up points (and a lot of them) on a regular basis. This is a player that has the potential to crack 100 points if he stays healthy. He managed to pull off 90 in 68 games last season.

    The kid's a playmaker. If you don't expect him to give away the puck moreso than your average two-way player, you're naive. The player with the most giveaways in history is Wayne Gretzky. I'm not saying Spezza is a cut of No. 99, but just to prove a point -- people DO cut slack for those that put up numbers. When you're winning, that's all they remember, and when you're losing, it's all about your (expletive) ups.

    One last thing -- I know how you love to blame Bryan Murray for Spezza's foibles. Spezza started out in this league under a great defensive mind -- Jacques Martin -- Jacques coached Spezza for 111 games, a nearly equal amount to Bryan Murray's 104. Martin never turned Spezza into anything resembling a Mike Fisher in the time that he had him. Why doesn't he share the blame in your book?

    The Universal Cynic

  4. Reality Check just got bitchslapped. I've read how you like to blame Murray on here for everything that the Senators have done wrong. What about Martin? She's right about Spezza too. He needs to control the puck but no one gives a fuck how he is handling it if he's scoring goals and the team is winning. It's been that way for awhile.

    Nice try Chief.

    Moder Mar

  5. MM, I wouldn't go that far -- I think people still care, which is why I said it's easier to stomach Spezza's defensive issues when he's scoring. I doubt anyone could ignore it completely, regardless of the situation.

    The Universal Cynic

  6. RC, you're an idiot. She's always mentioned Spezza's defensive issues. After reading her comments I'm pretty sure TUC neglected to say in the original post that she still feels the same way.


  7. I want to know if Daniel Alfredsson and Annika Sorenstam have ever been seen at the same time in the same place.


  8. Ask Volchenkov if he tans under a 40-watt bulb.


  9. Ask Joe Corvo if he relates to Rex Grossman at all.