Spezz is dispensed

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

The Senators will have some good news and likely some bad news today when it comes to the status of centre Jason Spezza and winger Brandon Bochenski.

The good news is Spezza will not be suspended for tomorrow night's meeting with the Canadiens in Montreal after incurring an instigator penalty in the waning minutes of Saturday night's 8-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The bad news is Bochenski, who went hard into the boards Saturday night, could be out for 6-8 weeks if the damage to his right shoulder is as bad as feared.

Spezza will be spared the one-game suspension that can come with picking up an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of a game. The rule was put in place to stop teams from putting enforcers out in the dying minutes of one-sided games.

In case you haven't noticed, Spezza's name doesn't often come up in the same sentence as "fight."

Saturday night's blowout wound down with a series of fights and chippy play, as Ottawa-Toronto games often do.

Spezza was given the stick by Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo while they were in the Toronto crease with 3:36 to go and Spezza, who was also taking a shot from Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour (why no third-man in penalty?) defended himself in a spontaneous reaction.

"He got speared by Colaiacovo. That's why he went after him," said Senators GM John Muckler.

"I kind of got speared and I just tried to protect myself," said Spezza, who will still have the instigator penalty on his record.

There was clearly no premeditation on Spezza's part, who has had all of one previous fight in the NHL (against ex-Flyer and current Blackhawk Patrick Sharp).

No suspension for Spezza will also mean Senators coach Bryan Murray will be spared a $20,000 fine. The normal $10,000 fine is doubled for a second offence. Senators defenceman Zdeno Chara was suspended for instigating a fight with Los Angeles Kings defenceman Tim Gleason in the last five minutes of a game Dec. 2 and Murray was whacked $10,000.

The news isn't expected to be good in the case of Bochenski, who crashed into the boards after getting tangled up with Leafs defenceman Aki Berg.

His right shoulder took the brunt of the blow. If the damage is as bad as suspected (a separated shoulder and maybe damage to the collarbone), he could be out for up to two months. That would be another blow for the Senators' forward ranks. Bochenski was called up from the minors to take Martin Havlat's spot on the roster and had five goals in seven games. Havlat could be out for the rest of the regular season after having surgery last week for a dislocated shoulder.

Bochenski's absence means fellow rookie Patrick Eaves, who had been summoned from Binghamton of the AHL when Spezza was experiencing problems with his hip, will now get a shot.


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