Spezza: Senators won’t be able to sneak up on opponents this season

Jason Spezza said the Ottawa Senators are ready for higher expectations this season, which isn’t a stretch considering they were picked by many to finish at the bottom of the standings a year ago.

Spezza: Senators won’t be able to sneak up on opponents this season
The Senators have an informal practice at Scotiabank Place earlier this week. (Wayne Cuddington/Ottawa Citizen)

Jason Spezza knows the Ottawa Senators will face higher expectations this season, which isn’t a stretch considering they were picked by many to finish at the bottom of the standings a year ago.

Instead, they managed to wrap up a playoff berth and took the top team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers, to seven games in the opening round.

“I don’t think anybody’s picking us to finish last this year,” said Spezza, whose strong showing in 2011-2012 (34 goals, 50 assists) was of the reasons the team overachieved. “Last year I think we surprised a lot of people by the year we had and I don’t think we’re going to surprise anybody this year.”

In addition to being a marked squad, it’ll have to deal with a hectic schedule that will see it playing every other night to squeeze in 48 games.

Spezza said the only way to adjust to a compressed schedule is to rest whenever possible. That means fewer practices and fewer morning skates.

But Spezza was relieved to be playing any games at all — he said he had his doubts it would happen this season.

“There were definitely some days where I was frustrated and wanted to see some more action from both sides, but I’m happy to see it got settled.”

Spezza said he was plugged in to the CBA negotiations, listening in on conference calls when he could and keeping in touch with the Senators’ player rep, Chris Phillips. Spezza said there were times when he voiced his concerns about the way the negotiations were going, but for the most part, he just wanted to stay informed.

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