Spezza's got plenty of game

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Fans will see a significant improvement in Jason Spezza's game this season.

In fact, he should be the best player in the entire system.

The Senators' top centre has been named the cover athlete and official spokesman for NHL 2K8, next in a line of top-rated video games to be released next month.

Yesterday, Spezza spoke with the Sun about the honour of being chosen ahead of the league's other young stars, then recalled the first time his likeness was on an NHL video game.

"I remember buying one as soon as it came out, to see what kind of player they made me," Spezza said with a laugh -- in between skating and an off-ice workout in Toronto. "I remember being kind of disappointed. So I created my own player and bumped up my attributes."

Spezza should like what he sees of himself on NHL 2K8 -- video game makers generally see to it that the player on its cover has the best capabilities.

"Hopefully they'll make me a little better because I'm on the cover," Spezza chuckled.

Spezza, who chose not to reveal what he was getting paid in the endorsement deal, is a known video game player. He and teammate Brian McGrattan have legendary battles from the comfort of a living room couch during the season.

Spezza is looking forward to what McGrattan has to say about him being on the cover when the two friends meet up today.

'PRETTY EXCITED'

"They just contacted my agent and said they were interested in putting me on the cover ... I was pretty excited," said Spezza, who will star in a commercial shoot in Toronto next week. "I'm a video game guy and the game promotes skill and puckhandling. I like playing it.

"I always played the game as a kid, and I guess in the back of my mind I thought of being on the cover one day.

"It's not about money .... I guess it's about the notoriety. There are a lot of great players in the league ... It's pretty cool to be on the cover of a video game."

In a release, Kush Games president Graeme Bayless said Spezza was an obvious choice for the cover of NHL 2K8.

"Spezza is a player that truly embodies the spirit of hockey, which is something that we pride ourselves in with the NHL 2K series," stated Bayless.

"We are very pleased to be working with a cover athlete that is such an avid gamer and who is committed to contributing valuable insight to the authenticity and development of the NHL 2K series."


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