by Bonk's Mullet
Jason Spezza sat down with the Team 1200 to discuss Alfie's departure, Bobby Ryan's arrival, being left off Team Canada, and his increased motivation coming into to next season. Here's the full audio of the interview, but I've provided a transcript below for the hard of hearing. My thoughts are in bold. I was lazy to transcribing the questions, so forgive me on that one. I also removed almost every "y'know, I think" and giggle from the interview.
Team 1200: Were you as shocked as the average fan when you first learned that Daniel Alfredsson would not be coming back?
|Spezza's reaction to the Alfie news.|
Spezza: Alfie called me the day before free agency and we had a good talk. I was really surprised to hear he was going to move on. I respect his decision as a player and I think that he wants to have a chance to win and he wanted to go somewhere else and see what was out there. I really respected him calling me and explaining his reasoning and I wish him nothing but the best and there will be no ill will held towards Alfie. He's taught me a lot and he has done great things for our team and the community but we'll move on and I think we have a real good club too.
Team 1200: Could you see a little bit of it coming?
Spezza: No. To me, completely out of the blue. You'd have to talk to him at a later date probably to see if there was thought throughout the last year, but to me it was completely out of the blue. I knew he was going to come back and play because he had felt pretty good all year, but to me it was more of a decision that if he was going to come back and play, and he did, that it was inevitable it would be with us. But that's sport, and that's hockey, but we respect his decision.
Team 1200: Do you think the fact that it was a unique year in free agency where teams could talk to guys in advance of free agency influenced Alfie's decision?
Spezza: I have too much respect for Alfie to get into our conversation and his reasons, he'll map out why he made his decision over the course of time... Only Alfie knows why his decisions were made. I wouldn't feel comfortable talking what we talked about. I think the free agency period is good for guys, it's good for teams to be able to talk to guys, and it gives guys a few more days to think about things instead of making rash decisions.Didn't help Toronto.
Spezza: But as for Alfie making his decision, he's the only one who should speak upon it.
Team 1200: Alfie thinks Detroit has a better chance to win the cup. Is that extra motivation for the Ottawa Senators?
Spezza: We feel like we have a really good team. I don't think I agree with the assessment that they're in a much better position than us to win. We've made some good acquisitions and his decision was made based on what he felt was best for him personally.
|Does Spezza think Alfie made the right decision?|
Spezza: We feel strongly about our group here and we've made some big strides. With all the injuries last year, guys have had a chance to step up and play in a bigger role than they would have normally last year. That coupled with us coming back healthy, that hopefully we can take the next step as a group. Every year is a new challenge and you really can't rest on a good season last year.
Team 1200: What would it mean to you to be named captain of this team?
|Simulated reaction to being named Captain.|
Spezza: If you ask any player, you'd love to have the distinction of being captain of your club. I pride myself on being a leader in our room. We've always led as a group leadership core and I think it will continue that way. Whether it's me or someone else who's captain, I feel like I'm one of the leaders on our team who has to be good night in and night out, make sure things are running smoothly in the room, and take a lot of responsibility with how I'm playing too. If it does happen, I don't think there's much in the way that I handle myself that'll have to change and that maybe couldn't have been 5, 6 years ago. But we'll see what happens. We don't make those decisions, but it's definitely something I'd love to have the chance to do.
We've always leaned on each other. Myself, Alfie, Philly, Chris Neil, *giggles* Erik. We've all been together for a long time, especially me, Philly, Alfie and Neiler. Not much will change in our room. We'll see where it goes, but you have to lead as a group within a dressing room. There's so many personalities and there's not one guy that can ever be the sole leader of the team. I think we have a great NUCULUS(!) and a great leadership group and you hear Mac refer to it all the time: when we have meetings, it's not 1 on 1, Mac and the captain, it's 5Hear that Alfie? We didn't need you anyway.
or 6 of us that get together and bounce things around.
Team 1200: Bobby Ryan? (I promise they asked actual questions, but this seems easier)
Spezza: He's a heck on an addition to our club. When I saw that, I was pretty excited. He'll bring a different element to our team that maybe we haven't had in a few years. To get a guy at his age in the prime of his age that I think maybe feels like he has a little more to give... I talked to him and he's really excited about coming. I think there's a lot of things that I could probably help him along with to make him a better player. If we get a chance to play together that would be great, if we don't there's still a lot of great things in his game that he can bring to our team. I'm excited, and I hope I get a chance to play with him, and he's a great acquisition."If we don't play together." There's about as much chance of that happening as Spezza playing on a line with Kassian.
Team 1200: Stanley Cup?
Spezza: I don't think you ever want to get too far ahead of yourself in this league, but we have a team that I feel should make the playoffs this year and if you get into the playoffs and things are going well, then everybody has a chance.So you're saying there's a chance?
Spezza: We're in a tough division right now, but I feel like we've got a great team. We made a lot of strides 2 years ago, and we made more strides last year. If we can keep building our foundation, we've got a chance to contend. You've got to get in the playoffs first, and that's no easy task.
Team 1200: Injuries?
Spezza: I feel great. The only impact it's had on my training is making me really motivated to make sure I'm coming to camp in great shape and excited to go.Awww cute.
Spezza: I can't remember having the excitement I have coming towards the season like I have right now for a long time just because of the time I've missed. I'm feeling good. I've been able to train fully. I started skating probably 3-4 weeks earlier than I normally would. I've been skating 3-4 times a week. I missed so much time that I want to make sure I'm getting the proper reps in so it's no surprise to my body come training camp. It's been a fun summer for me. I haven't had to worry too much about the injuries.So yes, Spezza does even lift, bro.
Spezza: With a back, you never really cast it aside and expect never to hear from it again. It's something that's going to be a career long thing where I make sure I'm doing the proper maintenance, but I feel good right now and I'm ready to go.Spezza's expect to have extra lingering back pain after the knife Alfie put through it.
Team 1200: Team Canada?
Spezza: They phoned me before they released the list. I was a little bit surprised, and as these are, you don't control how they pick these teams.After break up calls from Alfie and Team Canada, Spezza has probably developed a serious fear of picking up the phone.
Spezza: Like I said, I was pretty motivated going into this season because I missed all last year, I would say this definitely added to it a little bit.
"Ottawa....I am uhhh...ALSO coming in hot" - J. Spezza
— WTYKY (@wtyky) August 7, 2013
Team 1200: Did the call ease the pain of being rejected?
Spezza: I'm not really worried about it. If I have a great season with the Ottawa Senators and we win a lot of hockey games and I'm a big part of it, then if they feel like making room for me...then great, if not, I've played for Team Canada a lot, you can't control how they pick these teams.Spezza's an independent woman who don't need no national Olympic team.
Spezza: My goal is to help our team and get better and be a leader on our club. I expect to have a real good season this year. I've pushed myself this summer. I missed the whole year last year and I feel like I have a lot to give. I was making big strides in my game, and I'm not going to led a development camp get in the way of my goals.
My closing thoughts
After years of criticism from fans for his rash decision making on the ice and goofy presence off of it, it's clear that Spezza has the maturity to be the next captain of this team.
Expect to read sentences like the preceding one about 10,000 times before and after he's named captain of the team.