As Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips prepared Monday for the charter flight here, kick-starting a seven-game, 15-day odyssey which will eventually cover 6,670 kilometres, he was able to put some perspective on the situation.
Jason Spezza’s recovery from back disc surgery has taken “longer than anybody thought or expected,” Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray said Friday, acknowledging that the club’s number one centre may not be back before the regular season ends.
Following the appearance of goaltender Craig Anderson and defenceman Jared Cowen at Ottawa Senators practice Wednesday, you half expected to see centre Jason Spezza, left winger Milan Michalek and defenceman Erik Karlsson step out of the training room to take part in the workout.
The Senators are adapting to life without Jason Spezza while the Buffalo Sabres are just trying to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference. Although trade rumours may be heating up, Sens’ captain Daniel Alfredsson believes in his group no matter who’s in the lineup.
So, where were we? Considering that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have owned the NHL spotlight for the past four months, it has been easy to forget about all the on-ice changes since the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup.