— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) May 11, 2014
Half of Nick Kypreos’ tweet is not really new per se, since it was revealed long ago that two of the teams that called the Senators on deadline day — the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues — both belonged to the Western Conference.
Learning that the Senators are actively shopping Spezza however, is quite new. To this point, it was always understood that the Senators were listening to offers, but weren’t the aggressors trying to find a trade partner.
Even in a recent interview with The Casket (aka “Antigonish’s leading news source since 1852), head coach Paul MacLean expressed the importance in having Jason Spezza return to the lineup next season.
“It’s very important. Jason is one of the most skilled offensive players in the league and every team can use a player like that. At the same time we’re still in the process with Jason where we need him to work on making some changes in his game to make us a better team.”
MacLean of course would never throw his captain, especially when he’s still a member of the Ottawa Senators, under the bus.
It is ironic that a team with perceived leadership shortcomings is actively trying to trade its captain and one of its only good veteran players. It is like the organization is actually trying to make the fan base come to terms with the possibility of it trading Spezza by openly communicating the message that there is the leadership void on the team.
Interestingly, in that same MacLean interview that I referenced earlier, MacLean spoke about the team’s leadership issues by referring to the team’s hierarchy and the trickle down effect.
“When you talk about leadership it’s an everybody thing, not just the guys wearing the letters. Actually, the leadership of the group starts at the top with Eugene Melnyk, Bryan Murray and myself. If you want to talk leadership it’s not just the players but the coaching staff and the management as well. We have to do a much better job of sending the message of what the expectations are. From the players perspective, any time you replace a guy like Daniel Alfredsson, who has been there for 17 years, there is going to be a bit of an adjustment period. Jason has never been a captain before so when you assume that role it’s a different boat you have to steer. I do believe there was some adjustment that needed to be made but at the end of the day, when it came down to leadership, everyone of us didn’t do a good enough job.”
If they’re going to make Spezza the fall guy for the leadership void created by the departure of Daniel Alfredsson – something that the Senators ownership and management group brought upon themselves by dicking him around – then that’s pretty hilarious.
Unfortunately, there’s a legitimate argument that Spezza should be dealt for hockey-related reasons. Whether it’s his medical history, his ability to play a dedicated two-way game, age or the anticipated salary demands when it comes time to negotiate his next contract, there are incredibly rational reasons for thinking that Spezza’s played his last game in a Senators jersey.
For whatever reason however, these reasons are being drowned out by the leadership narrative.
Spezza trade rumors stem in part from Spezza exit interview when he reportedly told OTT ownership/management he may look favorably on move.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 12, 2014
Funny how stuff like this comes out shortly after Kypreos’ tweet about the Senators shopping Spezza. After being portrayed as actively shopping Jason, it’s not like it’d be in the Senators’ interests to let the world know through an esteemed hockey personality that it was actually Spezza who told ownership and management that he was interested in being moved.
I can already envision the Senators dropping these lines once a trade is formally announced, “It’s not our fault that we traded Jason. We wanted him to stay, but he just felt that a change would be best for him.”
And Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos took to television to report on his tweet from earlier: