The swelling has gone down in Jason Spezza’s injured shoulder and, as expected, the prognosis isn’t as bad as it could have been.
Coach Cory Clouston said Spezza will not need surgery and it’s hoped he’ll return to the lineup in 4-6 weeks.
“Before, it was longer than that, but each day there’s a little more optimism,” said Clouston. “At first we were trying to see if he needed surgery and right now it doesn’t appear that way, so that’s a positive.”
The Senators have lost all three games and scored just four goals — three in one night — since Spezza went down.
“Obviously, we’ve lost a pretty important part,” said Clouston. “The last two games have been all about trying to find the players to fill in those roles and sometimes it’s easier said than done. When you’re under the gun and you don’t have much of a cushion to work with, it’s more difficult.
“You can say what you want about Jason, he’s a big part of this team,” Clouston added of Spezza, who has 20 points (nine goals) in 32 games. “He’s a bigger part this year because he’s played in a lot more significant roles. Faceoffs, penalty kill, power play, 5-on-5, It’s not as easy as to just say, okay he’s gone, let’s insert player A.
“Even when he’s not scoring, he still draws the attention of the other team’s top defensive pairs, of their checkers, so it frees up ice time for other guys to maybe have more success.
“So even when Jason hasn’t been able to score ... he gets criticized for that, but as a coaching staff, we still think he’s a very valuable part of this hockey team.”