Over the Edge?

In an environment where fans are coming to terms with the Senators’ mediocrity, it hasn’t taken long for fans to strategize a plan to return the Senators to prominence. While there are many varying opinions, on this morning’s Over the Edge program, the hosts discussed the issue of whether or not to trade Jason Spezza. While some it has been discussed ad nauseum in forums and discussion boards, I think it’s interesting to note that it hasn’t escaped the ire of a certain sect of the Ottawa blog community. Both Jeremy Milks and Gerald Norton have written passionate takes on the issue and both are worth a read.

Personally, I didn’t have a large problem with the context of yesterday’s discussion. While I do think Spezza should be completely susceptible to criticism, it’s important to note that yesterday’s discussion was absolutely dominated by the Spezza detractors. (Whether that’s an indication of the hosting bias or the ineptness of the pro-Spezza camp in defending him is completely debatable. I’d like to think that it’s probably a bit of both.)

Decreased production, an inflated salary and his impending NTC are all reasonable concerns to parlay Spezza into assets and cap relief. Can it be fair to question his work ethic on the ice? Absolutely. He is prone to taking some nights off and can get lost out on the ice. But let’s not forget that Spezza once spent a summer training with Gary Roberts in Toronto. Yes, the same Gary Roberts that has glorified by the Toronto media for his dedication in the gym. If Spezza ever develops a physical game, we’ll have two reasons to laud Roberts – for Spezza’s growth and for getting John Muckler canned.

As a high-priced talent, Spezza’s not alone in receiving criticism.

Best place for wings is Buffalo. ~ Bruce Garrioch, The Ottawa Sun

Oops. Wrong quote. My apologies.

RW Dany Heatley scored his 35th goal of the season, but there are concerns about his play. “Sometimes with a guy like (Heatley) it’s a little bit of confidence. He’s trying to do too much,” and coach Cory Clouston said. “It goes back to the less is more sometimes. It’s not from a lack of effort and it may appear that way sometimes. He’s trying to do too much. He’s trying to beat guys 1-on-1 when maybe it’s not the right time to do it. He’s not trusting his shot at times and he’s not driving the net. Sometimes when you don’t have the confidence and you are struggling a little bit (it happens). Instead of looking like you’re working hard, you almost look like you are flat-footed at times.” ~ Bruce Garrioch, The Ottawa Sun

If Dany Heatley didn’t have an active NTC, he’d probably be subject to many of the same criticisms. But therein lies the problem. Only Spezza’s work effort was questioned. (Ironically enough, by a former CFLer who once used steroids to gain a competitive advantage.)

Regardless, get ready to join the debate. Aside from the hope card that will be played by the organization, the papers are going to be inundated with opinions on whether Spezza should stay or go. Hopefully those in the pro-Spezza camp will formulate their arguments a little better than they did yesterday.