December 23, 2011
Spezza in Christmas spirit
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Jason Spezza is still a kid at heart.
It didn’t take the Senators centre long to recall the best gift Santa (a.k.a. parents Rino and Dawna) put under the tree for Spezza Christmas morning when he was a child growing up in Mississauga.
Since Spezza was a forward and younger brother Matt was a goalie, the duo received a road hockey net and goalie equipment that got plenty of use in and around the Spezza home while the pair honed their skills growing up.
“My brother got the equipment, I got the brand new net and that was years and years of enjoyment for us,” Spezza said before the Senators faced the Hurricanes in the final game prior to their three-day holiday break Friday.
“The road hockey equipment was a really big thing for us because we both took advantage of it. The most shots I’ve taken on anybody (were) definitely (on Matt). We used to play for hours. That was definitely our top Christmas present.”
Christmas morning there will be plenty of kids pretending they’re Spezza scoring the winner in the driveway.
OFF THE GLASS
C Mike Hoffman was 45 minutes outside Binghamton — headed home to Kitchener for the break — when he got the call to turn his car around, pick up his equipment and get to Ottawa. Hoffman, 22, who has 17 points in the 32 games with the B-Sens, made his NHL debut vs. Carolina Friday night. Ottawa’s fifth-round selection in 2009 waited a long time for the call. “I was going home for Christmas holidays, but I’d much rather be here,” said Hoffman. “It’s definitely a great opportunity and I’ve got to take every opportunity I get.” ... G Craig Anderson had to wear his old mask Friday vs. Carolina after Florida D Jason Garrison cracked the shell in the forehead portion of his new mask with a shot in the third period on Thursday.
THE MORNING SKATE
The season is pretty much over in Carolina and the belief is GM Jim Rutherford is getting ready to clean house. League sources say Rutherford will hold a fire sale before the NHL trade deadline. Not only are the Hurricanes going to try and move potential UFAs Tuomo Ruutu, Bryan Allen, Jaroslav Spacek and Tim Gleason, they would also like to get rid of contracts that have term. Don’t be surprised if you hear the D Joni Pitkanen’s in trade talk. He has two years left with a cap hit of $4.5 million ... Charlie Brown Christmas played on the scoreboard before the puck was dropped. Never gets old ... The Hurricanes wasted a 1:51 5-on-3 in the first. Coach Kirk Muller was so frustrated, he called a timeout with 40 seconds left to try to get some shots on Anderson because Carolina kept trying to feed the front of net. Bullet dodged.
AROUND THE BOARDS
If C Peter Regin hadn’t suffered a likely season-ending shoulder injury this week, he could have been trade bait at the deadline. Phoenix had interest in Regin before the Coyotes dealt C Kyle Turris to the Senators for D David Rundblad and a No. 2 pick last week. Phoenix decided to take a pass on Regin, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have garnered interest in February. A RFA in July, Regin’s career could be at a crossroads if he doesn’t play again this season in Ottawa. The Senators will have rookie C Mika Zibanejad next season and middle is crowded with the addition of Turris ... With a goal and two assists on Thursday, captain Daniel Alfredsson had his 72nd career game with three or more points. That places him fifth among active players, behind Jaromir Jagr (184), Teemu Selanne (122), Joe Thornton (90) and Jarome Iginla (86) ... The best gift D Erik Karlsson ever received from the Alfredssons? “A T-shirt my first year. I wear it all the time.” A very practical gift.
IT MAKES YOU GO HMMM ...
There was no further action against W Nick Foligno for his hit on Florida D Keaton Ellerby. The Senators have asked the league to rescind the game misconduct Foligno received. “Those things can add up and that’s a possibility,” said coach Paul MacLean.