Sens sticking up for Spezza

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Jason Spezza and the Senators are looking for a measure of satisfaction.

A day after Spezza was penalized for using an illegal stick, Senators officials called the NHL to get a clearer interpretation of the rules.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson asked referee Dan O'Halloran for a measurement of Spezza's stick with 2:16 left in the third period of Ottawa's 2-1 win on Monday night at Scotiabank Place. The stick was ruled to be illegal and the Senators were forced to kill off the penalty to preserve the win.

The Senators read the rules yesterday and they want an explanation why Spezza's stick was deemed to be illegal.

The Senators would like an answer before tonight's visit by the Lightning because Spezza just got a new batch of sticks and he wants to know exactly how much he can carve from the toe of the sticks before game time.

"There's a lot of grey area because the way we interpret the rule, it was not an illegal stick, so we're going to get some clarification from the league," said Senators coach Cory Clouston. "(The league) is saying it's illegal. We're trying to clarify where you take the measurement.

"If every one is measured from the very tip, then they're all illegal. It's worded very strangely. Do we like the call? No. But (Wilson) did whatever he could within the rules to win the game."

Spezza is very particular about his sticks and spends a lot of time working on them. He was one of the last players in league using wooden sticks, but switched this season to a Reebok composite with a wood blade.

According to Spezza, the gauge the officials used for the measurement was "old" and that O'Halloran had never dealt with the type of request Wilson asked for.

"They've got to figure out what the rule is first. I just won't shave them (today)," said Spezza. "I work on my sticks quite a bit: I shave them. I curve them a little bit and I shave the knob. I put a lot of work into my sticks. That's just something I've always done.

"The blade, I shave for weight. Once we figure what the rule is, I'll probably just make the heel of my blade skinnier because I am well within the rules there. I will probably just take the weight off somewhere else on the blade. It's something where once we figure out the rule, it won't be a problem."

The unwritten rule has always been that players switch to their legal sticks in the third period. But, in most cases, coaches look for an illegal curve and don't usually ask for a measure of the width.

Players use illegal sticks

"There's definitely players that use illegal sticks. There's no question," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "They changed the rules a couple of years ago to allow more curve because it's really not a safety issue or anything. If you start calling it, you better make sure your own players have legal sticks because you don't want to change too much."

Alfredsson said there does need to be some rules covering sticks.

"You have to have some measurements you can't go above. Otherwise, you'll have the Roger Neilsons of the world, at the end of the game, using a goalie stick for defencemen or whatever. You know something goofy. There has to be some regulation for it," said Alfredsson.


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