Jason Spezza is tentatively planning a trip to an Island — after the all-star break, not during.
The Senators centre has circled the Feb. 5 game in Long Island as his probable return date from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of the last 13 games. The Senators have lost 12 of them.
“I’m just going to get back and skate ... I’m going to need to take a couple of days of contact,” said Spezza, whose team returns from the all-star break for a game in New Jersey Feb. 1 that is quickly followed up by a home game the next night vs. the Detroit Red Wings. “I probably won’t play in the first two games, but then I’m hoping to get back after that. I’ve got to get hit a couple of times to see how it feels and go from there. “
Spezza’s worth to the team has never been more evident than in the past four weeks. Not only were the Senators 1-8-4 without him, they’ve only scored 22 goals during that stretch.
And six of them were in one game, against a couple of Islanders goalies who were clearly not at their best.
“We want to play better hockey after the break. We want to win games,” Spezza said, refusing to write off playoff hopes despite the fact the Senators, heading into Wednesday’s action, were 13 points out of eighth place. “In sports, you never know. As athletes, we hold out hope. Think you can put together a big string, and you never know what happens.”