Spezza likely on shelf against Leafs

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

BOSTON -- Judging by the look on his face, the odds of Senators centre Jason Spezza returning to the lineup tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place against the Toronto Maple Leafs are not good.

"It's still bugging me," Spezza said of his groin injury after skating on his own at the TD Banknorth Garden yesterday morning.

Spezza took to the ice after more than a dozen of his teammates took part in an optional skate in preparation for last night's game against the Bruins.

Spezza wore his full gear and skated under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Ron Low and strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee, among others who stopped by to see how Spezza was doing.

Spezza did some straight-ahead skating between the blue lines, but didn't appear to get up to full speed. He also did some turns, returning to the bench every now and then to confer with Lee and Low.

There was a lot of head-shaking going on.

Spezza and the Senators might as well give the groin the time it needs to heal fully, which looks like it might be a few more days.

Going into last night's game with an 11-1 record and seeing Randy Robitaille and Mike Fisher step up with a couple of goals each in the two games Spezza has missed, it's a luxury they can afford.

HEAR AND THERE

Senators and Bruins? Who? The game everybody was talking about here was the NFL clash between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, who played yesterday afternoon. "It's the Super Bowl," said the doorman at the Senators' hotel yesterday morning. "I get off work just in time. I just called my wife and told her to put two 16-oz. mugs in the freezer." ... There had to be fewer than 1,000 fans in the seats for the warmup last night as the Pats-Colts game raced toward its thrilling conclusion. Looked like a lot of people had their significant others put mugs in the freezers at home.

REVELATIONS

The cheer when they put up the score of the Patriots game (news flash -- they won) was bigger than when the Bruins scored their first goal ... Take the stats for what they're worth, but in the first period last night, the Bruins outhit the Senators 7-1 and the lone Ottawa hit belonged to Nick Foligno.

SPECULATIONS

I was wondering where all those Florida election officials wound up going after the Gore-Bush debacle. While surfing the Net yesterday morning here to see what was going on at home, I see where the CFL stripped Saskatchewan kicker Luca Congi's all-star status after retabulating the votes. Calgary's Sandro DeAngelis is now the all-star. In other news, last year's Grey Cup champions are now the Montreal Alouettes.

JUST WONDERING

Why not give everybody the seat upgrade at the game last night? It's not like there wasn't room in the lower bowl ... How many Senators does it take to get the puck away from Bruin Marco Sturm? In the first period last night the answer was three.

LEMME SAY THIS

The TD Banknorth Garden is not one of my favourite new buildings, but the building has maybe the best big screen around. Which makes you wonder, with the biggest football game of the year going on, why didn't they show the Patriots game during the warmup?

TIMEOUT

On a crisp day in Beantown, lunch with my good friend Sam Adams at Boston Fours (the best sports bar in America -- Sports Illustrated wouldn't steer you wrong) and then a brisk walk back to the hotel was the way to go after the Senators' optional morning skate. My over/under on the number of Dunkin' Donuts stores I'd pass during the 20-minute walk from Boston Fours to the hotel at Downtown Crossing was 4.5. The correct number turned out to be five PARTING SHOT

What's wrong with this picture? The team that led the Eastern Conference with an 11-1 record going into last night's game and won the night before has about 14 guys on the ice for an optional skate yesterday. Granted, the team that lost the night before is at home and time with family is important, but nobody skates? Then again, with the way the Bruins started the game, who's to say they were wrong by foregoing the extra workout?


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