The Ottawa Senators have been an unexpectedly pleasant story this season. Rookie head coach Paul MacLean has the Sens in the playoff race all season long, despite surrendering the second most goals in the East. It will be interesting to see if the Sens can hold their playoff spot. Goalie Craig Anderson has a history of fading as the season progresses. If that happens the Senators will need more offense.
One of the keys for MacLean has been getting the most out of Jason Spezza, something that has frustrated many of the Senators coaches in the past. Spezza has been accused of not working hard enough and not realizing just how good he could be.
This year the former second overall pick has consistently been in the top ten in league scoring all season long, and flirting with the top 5 for much of it. He may not yet be as dominant as some thought he would be (Mario Lemieux once said Spezza could be the best player in hockey), but this season he has been awfully good.
A major reason for Spezza's improved play is he has not been as reluctant to shoot the puck. He is a playmaker at heart, and at times to a fault. In years past frustrated Ottawa fans would yell "SHOOT!!!" whenever he held on to the puck too long. This season he is on pace to equal or perhaps better his career best for shots on goal. Not surprisingly he is also on pace to equal his career best 34 goals.
It's funny how the usual cure for any hockey player's woes is to shoot the puck more. Even the playmakers.
YouTube Miss: It is truly a shame that no one has uploaded any evidence of Jason Spezza's previous career onto YouTube. His first job was as a baby model.
As a 1 year old Spezza won a contest to become the poster boy for Baby, a Broadway musical that played at Toronto's O'Keefe Centre in the summer of 1984. At five years old, Spezza was chosen for a Minute Maid commercial. Two years later, he modelled clothing for stores Woolco and Kmart.