Spezza's heart with Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Other than suiting up for Canada at next month's world championship, Jason Spezza only wants to play for the Senators.

Less than a day after the Senators were swept from the NHL playoffs by the Penguins, Spezza reiterated he signed a seven-year, $49-million US contract with the Senators because he wants to remain in Ottawa.

While Spezza agrees he needs to contribute more than the one assist he had in four playoff games against the Penguins, he scoffed at the notion of being dealt this summer, although a rumour has surfaced that has him headed to Vancouver for goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Spezza won't lie awake worrying about it.

"Nobody is ever comfortable. Anybody can get traded at any time, but I don't think you can be looking over your shoulder all summer worrying about it," said Spezza. "I'm going to train this summer and focus on making the Ottawa Senators a Cup contender again.

"I signed here for seven years because I want to be here and I think they want to have me here. If one bad playoff spurs trade rumours, then so be it. But I'd like to think I'm here for the long haul and I want to have success here."

Spezza said he hopes to learn from the sweep.

"A lot of our results are (based on) how my game is going," said Spezza. "I know that. I have to work on my consistency and just become a stronger person and every year you learn different things. I'm sure once I have the chance to reflect, I'll know what I can do differently."

After starting off the season 15-2, the Senators steadily fell apart from mid-December, then just squeaking into the post-season, followed by a four-game beatdown at the hands of the Penguins.

While injuries to Daniel Alfredsson (knee), Mike Fisher (knee) and Chris Kelly (foot) didn't help the Senators' playoff cause, when owner Eugene Melnyk, president Roy Mlakar and GM Bryan Murray meet with the media today they're going to be facing some tough questions about the direction of this team.

Some believe it's time to cut at the core of the Senators and take them in a new direction by moving the likes of Spezza and Dany Heatley before the no-trade clauses on their contract extensions kick in.

HEATLEY LIKES TEAM

Heatley said making major changes would be absurd.

"When things go like they did, you're going to take heat. I understand that," said Heatley. "Last year, we had pretty much the same group and this year we just didn't get the job done. Blow it up? No, this is pretty well the same group of guys that got us to the Stanley Cup final last year.

"For whatever reason, it didn't go the way we wanted. We've got to come back next year, ready for camp and ready to go."

Today, Murray will have to address the coaching situation in his press conference. Melnyk told Hockey Night in Canada on Wednesday that he assured Murray he would be back next season if he fired Paddock and went back behind the bench.

"Bryan stepped up to the plate," Melnyk told HNIC. "That's the way you gotta look at it. There had to be a change made, and I came to Bryan and asked him if he wanted to take it on -- both jobs."

Sources say Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who failed to sign a contract extension with the Wings before the playoffs started, is at the top of Murray's list if he's available.

Then there's the usual list of suspects: Former Toronto coach Pat Quinn, former Atlanta coach Bob Hartley, former New Jersey coach Pat Burns and Colorado coach Joel Quenneville is a possibility. Kitchener Rangers coach Peter DeBoer is going to get an interview.

The Senators know the club will look different.

"It's inevitable there's going to be change, there always is. Last year, we went to the Stanley Cup finals and there were changes," said defenceman Chris Phillips. "How much? Who knows? You are asking the wrong guy. There's still a lot of promise here."


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