Bum leg fells Spezza

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Jason Spezza's status for Game 3 tonight is a mystery.

The Senators centre, who jammed his leg after hitting the boards trying to throw a check in Game 2 on Friday in Pittsburgh, was nowhere to be seen as the Senators went through a 40-minute workout yesterday at Scotiabank Place.

Not only did Spezza miss practice, opting to have treatment for the injury instead, he left without speaking to the media -- a rare move by the gab-happy pivot.

Sources insisted when the puck is dropped tonight against the Penguins, Spezza will be playing.

That would be good news for the Senators, who are trailing their best-of-seven series 2-0 and are already missing Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly to various injuries.

If Spezza doesn't play, the Senators have to suck it up.

"(Spezza's) just banged up a little bit, as far as I know," said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips. "Obviously, you want him in the lineup. But if there's a chance someone could be missing, you've got to go out and play your hardest.

"We're not the kind of group that's going to put its head down, kick the wall and say, 'Well, let's hope everyone is healthy next year.' We're going to keep fighting and we're going to have a couple of home games here to turn the series around."

Senators coach and GM Bryan Murray, who told reporters "we'll just have to wait and see," when asked about Spezza, believes Ottawa has to battle through its bumps and bruises.

'UNIFORMS MATTER'

"I read everybody and it doesn't matter who is out, you should play at a top level, so we'll just try to play at a top level. Uniforms matter, players don't," said Murray.

The Senators know they cannot use injuries as an excuse for losing -- even if they're missing their best players. Teams that win in the playoffs overcome these kinds of blows if they're going to win the Stanley Cup.

"That's hockey. Obviously, that sucks, but that's hockey," said Senators defenceman Mike Commodore. "Spezza is one of the better players, if not the best player, on this team. But we've got guys in here chomping at the bit for an opportunity. If he goes down, somebody else has to step up."

The Senators understand the situation.

"Good teams find a way. There's no way you're going to win a Stanley Cup and nobody is going to get hurt," said Senators winger Martin Lapointe. "It's called adversity. It doesn't matter who is in the lineup and it doesn't matter who is on the ice, you've got to do little things to win a hockey game.

"We have to do that (tonight). It doesn't matter if Jason Spezza doesn't play. We can't be thinking about that. We're all professionals.

LINE CHANGES

"We're all paid to play the game and some guys have to step up to play in different roles and just take the opportunity and make the best out of it."

Even if Spezza plays, the lines are going to look different tonight. Dany Heatley has been moved to a line with Antoine Vermette in the middle and Cory Stillman on the right side, while Spezza will likely line up with Nick Foligno and Binghamton call-up Alexander Nikulin.

The Senators have to find a way for Heatley to start scoring or they don't stand a chance against the Penguins.

"It's a big job of mine," said Heatley. "We haven't gotten the chances and produced the way we've wanted the first two nights, but that's why it's a seven-game series and we'll try to get it done (tonight)."


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