Spezza shut out by Canada

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

The past few weeks have been unkind to Jason Spezza.

First he was jilted by his left winger, then he was shunned by his country.

The Senators' high-scoring centre was conspicuous by his absence from those invited to take part in this summer's orientation camp for Canada's 2010 Olympic men's hockey team.

Spezza, who has played for his country at the last two world championships, found out not by a phone call from Hockey Canada but when the list was released to the public yesterday morning.

Bitter over the rejection, Spezza spoke of the snub as well as made his first comments regarding Dany Heatley's trade demands.

"It's disappointing," Spezza said of not being invited to Calgary for the Aug. 24-27 get-together. "Obviously, I want to be there, I want to be a part of that. But I don't make the decisions.

"Now, I just have to prove to them that I can make that team. I've been in this position before."

Although it has never happened, Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman said players not invited to the orientation camp can still make the Olympic team with strong play in the first half of next season.

Spezza, who has averaged more than 85 points in the last four NHL campaigns, looked like he wants calendars turned to October today.

"I thought I did a pretty good job this year at the worlds, and I think I can play at that level," he said. "They make the decisions. I don't know how they're made. It just makes you a little more motivated."

'Understands' Dany

Meanwhile, Spezza said he "understands" Heatley's motives for wanting out of Ottawa, which largely have to do with his unhappiness playing for coach Cory Clouston. But he also does not condone the actions of his buddy.

"As a player sometimes, you feel that things aren't going your way, and you need a change," said Spezza. "I can understand that. I wouldn't say I 100% agree (with Heatley), but I definitely understand."

Heatley, who was included on the list of invitees to the Canadian camp, has scored 180 goals over the last four seasons with Ottawa. Many of them were set up by Spezza, who admitted the two have spoken a number of times since Heatley decided he wanted out.

"It's part of the game," said Spezza. "Decisions have to be made. I don't hold it against him at all. I just hope this doesn't stall our organization. We want to move forward, I think, and if he wants to come back, we'll accept him back and we'll be a good team with him. But if he doesn't want to be here, then he has to let us make a move and get some players to replace him.

"I think it would be nice if it could just all go away, get settled."

Asked about the reaction of fans who are angry at Heatley, Spezza shrugged.

"Fans are fans," he said. "They get mad us when we're losing games, they're happy when we're winning. They're obviously upset because they're feeling slighted, but it's part of being a fan. Fans have the biggest emotions of anyone."


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