Ottawa's "Players Only" Meeting: The Secret Transcript

By Luke Peristy

Yesterday, the captain of YOUR Ottawa Senators, Jason Spezza, called a "Players Only" meeting prior to practice after the team's third loss in four games. Your friends at have acquired the transcript from that meeting. We would like to present it to you now.

(Scene: the Ottawa Senators dressing room. Jason Spezza stands up and begins to speak.)

Spezza: So, obviously we've lost three out of our last four games, including three in a row at home. I've called this meeting because I wanted to talk to everyone about what we think we should be doing to get better.

Phillips: That's right! We need to talk about what we're doing wrong and how to get better.

Spezza: . . . didn't I just say that?

Phillips: I just wanted to reiterate what you said. You know, since I'm associate captain and all.

Spezza: Uh, that's nice, I guess.

(A loud creaking noise is heard.)

Spezza: Hey, this is supposed to be a private meeting! Somebody lock that door! 

Michalek: Sorry, Jason. That's just the sound my knees make when I sit down.

Spezza: Oh, that's what it is! This whole time, I thought that squeaking sound out on the ice was just Cody calling for the puck.

Conacher: (annoyed) Hey! I'm not that small, and my name is "Cory".

Spezza: Not to worry, Rory! Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts about how to keep a positive mindset?

MacArthur: Well, once I was on another team that had sky high expectations going into the season, but things started badly and the media scrutiny got to us, and things went downhill fast after that.

Corvo: Ugh, tell me about it. Carolina was the worst for that.

MacArthur: Sure, Joe. Anyway, the important thing is to ignore the media as much as possible. It brings in too much negativity.

Ryan: (while doing push-ups in the corner) Nobody calls me out of shape and gets away with it, Clarke! Nobody!

Spezza: Bobby, you have 3% body fat! Stop worrying about it! Anyone else want to s-

Phillips: (interrupting Spezza) Anyone else have something to say?

Spezza: Thanks, Chris.

Karlsson: Well, you know, I've been doing my best out there, but I feel like some of the other defensemen on this team need to step up a bit.

Wiercioch: Hey man, as the accurate-passing yet slow-of-foot defenseman who rarely takes the body, I've been filling Sergei Gonchar's skates as best I can.

Karlsson: Ok, but what about your partner?

Cowen: I think we should just give it time. When I have the puck I think, "just hold out a bit longer. Things will get better the longer you wait," so I hold out the puck on my stick for as long as I can, and then I make the pass.

(Awkward silence from the rest of the room.)

Cowen: I'm going to hold out on this conversation until someone else says something.

Karlsson: Oooookay, then. What about you, Eric? How do you feel about your role on the team?

Gryba: I'm here because someone needs to be able to grow a beard.

Karlsson: I'm pretty sure I've already got some pretty nice facial hair going on. You guys think I need to have some kind of effing god's beard.

Gryba: Whatever you say, D'Artagnan.

Spezza: (quickly) I think we should move on now!

(Spezza looks at Phillips. Phillips is enjoying a game of Candy Crush on his cell phone.)

Spezza: Would anyone el-

Phillips: (suddenly jumping to his feet) WHO ELSE WANTS TO SAY SOMETHING?

Spezza: Son of a . . .

Anderson: It would be nice to get a little more help from you guys. If everyone could get pucks out of the zone quicker or clear rebounds better, that'd probably help me a lot.

Lehner: You see? Starting goaltender says he wants help. Not like me. I will stop all shots from anyone. Mike Smith can score, and I'm three times the man he is. I will make all saves, and score goals. In fact, I want you guys to allow MORE shots. Does the number ".940" mean anything to you?

Anderson: Sure. That number is .001 less than my save percentage last year.

Lehner: (eyes narrowing) Soon, Craig. Soon . . .

Anderson: That's it - save-off! First one to get scored on one-on-one loses. I'll even pick a shooter right now.

(Anderson grabs a water bottle, places it on the floor, and gives it a spin. When the bottle comes to rest, it's pointing at Erik Condra.)

Lehner: Forget it, we don't have all day.

Spezza: Look, you guys have both been doing the best you can, and I don't think goaltending is the problem here. 

Phillips: I remember this one time I gave the puck to the goalie, and things didn't go so well . . . (Phillips' voice trails off)

Lehner: Do not worry, Chris. The Lehner is much sharper than The Razor.

(Phillips continues to stare ahead without blinking.)

Spezza: (waving hand in front of Phillips' face) . . . Chris? Chris, do you want to say anything else to the group?

(Phillips, appearing unaware of his surroundings, continues to tune out everything.)

Spezza: Dammit, not again. Neiler, you wanna take care of this one?

(Chris Neil grabs a nearby water bottle and sprays a catatonic Phillips with it at close range.)

Phillips: (suddenly broken out of his stupor) BENCH MINOR! That's unsportsmanlike conduct!

Neil: Sorry, Chris. Only Daniel Carcillo gets that sort of protection from the refs. 

Spezza: Ok, I think we're just about done, here. Anyone else have something on their mind?


(Mika Zibanejad makes a perfect "record scratch" sound. The entire room stops and stares.)

Phillips: (hopefully) . . . but being an associate captain is a great honour and I'm happy to help out in any way I can?

Spezza: Ok, thanks for the support, Chris. This meeting is adjourned.

(Players begin to file out of the room.)

Zibanejad (to Grant): Hey, this is still better than being in Binghamton, am I right?.

Grant: Yeah, for sure. I'd do anything to stay out of that place.

(Jean-Gabriel Pageau laughs nervously.)
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