Jason Spezza and Anton Volchenkov

What an Ottawa Senators fan would give for a quiet off season.  After going through the ups and downs of the Dany Heatley ordeal last summer, the stories of Spezza and his future have to be disheartening. 

After the season, GM Bryan Murray made a comment that didn’t go unnoticed, but also didn’t really cause too much concern.  Basically Murray said that during the team’s exit meetings Spezza was not pleased with the way he is treated.  What was open for some interpretation is who was he not pleased with?  Was it the fans who boo him when he creates a turnover or makes an
errant pass?  Or was it the media who ask him ( what sometimes seems like a
million ) questions and can make him a focal point?

So in the last few weeks, stories have continued to circulate that Spezza was not happy with his treatment.  Now right after losing in the first round the emotions of losing were still high so being a tad ticked off would be understandable.  However this is now a month and a half later; surely he would have had a chance to “calm” down.  Where is his head right now?

When asked last week by a local television reporter if he had asked for a trade, he did not deny it.  When asked if he wanted to stay in Ottawa, he responded by saying he was signed here.  Not really putting his foot down there.  A few days later, Spezza did reiterate he wants to be in Ottawa.  But the ( slight ) damage was done.

Add to the fact it was reported this year Jason and his wife had sold their home, and many fans were wondering if it was possible to lose their number one centre.  Of course, the living situation was non-hockey related, but in a hockey crazy city, little things like that can snowball into bigger … snowballs.

Many fans feel the media in Ottawa can be negative.  In this case, the reporter who brought the story to the forefront, Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun, has been taking some flack from fans.  This I don’t understand.  The story is a legitimate one.  Knowing how the media interacts with the players and the organization there is little chance Bruce did not run this by one of the two parties involved in this saga.  Because this is the type of story if it isn’t true, will get you blackballed from the players and management will make your life difficult.  No chance Bruce and the Sun went to print without having some I’s or T’s dotted and crossed.

Where does that leave Ottawa?  Spezza has a contract through 2015 at an average of $7 million per year.  That will make any trade difficult.  However Jason is still young and averages about a point a game.  He might not be a top five centre in the league, but he is certainly top 10-12.  If Ottawa were to trade him, it would most likely be before the draft as Ottawa would need a high pick involved.  Spezza has a no trade clause that kicks in on July 1, which complicates the matter.

In the end, I don’t think Ottawa makes the trade unless they can get back a cheaper and younger number centre as well as a top draft pick.  And we all know those trades aren’t easy to find.

Volchenkov update

We have all heard the rumblings here in Ottawa that Anton Volchenkov would most likely not be back and Washington was the frontrunner to land his services.  Earlier this week a Capitals hockey insider for the Washington Post revealed Volchenkov was not in their plans.  Except Anton and his wife have reportedly been in Washington this past week looking for homes.  His tour guide?  Alex Ovechkin. 

Should be an interesting few weeks in Sens land.

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