Of course, who didn’t see this coming? Jason Spezza has been named the 8th captain in Ottawa Senators franchise history. He is more then fit to be able to handle the job. He was over a point a game player for the Brampton Battalion, Mississauga Ice Dogs, Windsor Spitfires and Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League before making the jump to the AHL and as history shows, the NHL.
What will Spezza have to live up too? There’s only been 7 captains before him and only one of which who has set the precedent. You can’t count the first 4 who did absolutely nothing. Laurie Boschman, Brad Shaw, Mark Lamb, and Gord Dineen who were given a brand new franchise with little tools and players to work with trying to make the team thrive.
Randy Cunneyworth, who is a major step up, lead the team for 4 seasons without breaking 50 points a season. Of course, he had more points then the past 4 captains combined but the mid-90’s were a strange time for hockey and the Ottawa Senators in general.
And then comes Alexi Yashin, who was marketed to take the Senators to the promised land. Well, as history shows, that didn’t happen. After being stripped of his captaincy for refusing to honor his contract, the Senators brass named Daniel Alfredsson captain for the 1999-2000 season.
Now this is where Spezza is going to have big shoes to fill. Alfredsson was the longest serving Senators captain at 13 years. He set a precedent of notching over 50 points a season consecutively. Yashin was the only one former who came close. Alfredsson was not only a leader on the ice but off the ice as well. He was the one players came too.
I have no doubt that Spezza has the ability to perform on the ice but he may need to step it up a little. With the addition of Bobby Ryan to the team, this will give the Senators a bit more fire power and maybe more for Spezza to work with. Becoming a leader is something he has already has been. With him, Chris Neil, and Chris Phillips, there is no shortage of veteran players who the younger ones can turn too.
This may be a learning experience year but there’s no doubt that you should keep a close eye on those Pesky Sens.