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Spezza Appreciation Thread

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Old
10-27-2006, 08:15 AM
  #1
NyQuil
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Spezza Appreciation Thread

Turning his season around with a 5 point effort, suddenly he and Heatley are only 4 points back of the league lead in points.

What is perhaps more intriguing about yesterday's game was his 18/2 performance in the faceoff circle.

The difference is night and day when it comes to his play.

If he has a shot on net, he takes it. If he can't move forward, he stops, but then, waits with his head up, looking for the trailer or for the other players to move. Not laying the puck off assuming that someone on his team will pick it up.

When Spezza starts shooting, that's when the team becomes dangerous. Raycroft was obviously cheating to an unbelievable degree on Jason's odd-angle shot that lead to the back-breaking goal. Once everyone expects the pass, take the shot. Then you keep them guessing.

The Big Line was in peak form last year when all 3 players alternated between shooting and passing, and exchanged positions on the ice. I think Heatley and Spezza became so enamoured with their sniper/set-up man roles that they forgot the secret to their chemistry.

All in all, the little things that make Spezza so dominant were in evidence the last two games, and it's good timing.

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10-27-2006, 08:19 AM
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I've been pretty hard on the guy, so kudos to you spezza. I grant you three stupid no one is there behind the back passes on the powerplay that lead to a shorthanded goal without comment.

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10-27-2006, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NyQuil View Post
Turning his season around with a 5 point effort, suddenly he and Heatley are only 4 points back of the league lead in points.

What is perhaps more intriguing about yesterday's game was his 18/2 performance in the faceoff circle.

The difference is night and day when it comes to his play.

If he has a shot on net, he takes it. If he can't move forward, he stops, but then, waits with his head up, looking for the trailer or for the other players to move. Not laying the puck off assuming that someone on his team will pick it up.

When Spezza starts shooting, that's when the team becomes dangerous. Raycroft was obviously cheating to an unbelievable degree on Jason's odd-angle shot that lead to the back-breaking goal.

All in all, the little things that make Spezza so dominant were in evidence the last two games, and it's good timing.
Excellent point and to his credit he has learned his lesson, taken the brunt of critizism, elevated his game and followed his coaches advise, not to the letter but close enough. I too was very impressed with how well he handle himself in the faceof circle and how both he and Heatley are finally, finally back checking as hard as they play in the offensive zone. For this team to win consistently these two have to play that way consistently and I love what Eaves brings to this line with the pressure in front of the net.

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10-27-2006, 08:23 AM
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I've been hard on him too, but feel no guilt for it. This is the way he should be playing.

Past 2 games have been a pleasure to watch, and highly do his play. Maybe he got scared thinking he'd be paired up with Neiler.. who knows

But really, Healteys success is directly affected by how Spezza plays. Which is great, but scarey at the same time.

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10-27-2006, 08:24 AM
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My only concern, and it is legitimate, if a little untimely, in that we want to enjoy our victories when they come, is that the Leafs have a ragged defence with a fairly ordinary goalie.

Like last year, the Senators can burn teams that play a little lazy in their own zone.

Hopefully Spezza and Co. can parlay their brutal efficiency in the last few games into some success against more defensively-minded teams.

The big silver lining will be gaining confidence offensively which will hopefully in turn lead to a better powerplay. It's the PP that helps put away those really strong teams and we have to get it going ASAP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandi
But really, Healteys success is directly affected by how Spezza plays. Which is great, but scarey at the same time.
Well, I agree to some extent, in that it's a bit of a Thornton type characterization. When you have a set-up man who is -that- gifted, you will undoubtedly pad your stats a little bit.

But what I saw from Heatley against Toronto was a heck of a lot of hustle. At times, I was saying to Mrs. NyQuil, "Is that Heatley out there? He's burning around the offensive zone." He also laid the body out, which was nice to see.

Two goals in particular, the Fisher goal which opened the scoring, and the one where Spezza and Heatley fought tooth-and-nail to keep it in the zone (Heatley's tap in in front I think) were the result of pure hard work.

It was impressive to see how hard they were fighting just to keep the puck in the zone, because they knew that just keeping the puck in could result in a goal eventually. Those kinds of goals, where the players refuse to give up on the play, really stand out in contrast to what they were trying to do in the slump to start off the season.


Last edited by NyQuil: 10-27-2006 at 08:31 AM.
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Old
10-27-2006, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by aragorn View Post
Excellent point and to his credit he has learned his lesson, taken the brunt of critizism, elevated his game and followed his coaches advise, not to the letter but close enough. .
Yup, he'll grow as a person and a player for it.

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10-27-2006, 08:29 AM
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I was always in the camp of "sometimes you take the good with the bad", so i cant say too much about how I was really down on him, but I think this thread came at a very appropriate time.

Spezza's play in the last two games was nothing short of remarkable. I really cannot think of any way he could have been better last night, there just were no flaws to his game. I said after the preseason and first 2 games that I thought Spezza looked like a Man on the ice, just dominating the puck and carrying the play. People got down on him (granted, I didnt see the games between now and then) but he has really used all his weapons the last couple games, and is really unstoppable when he does. Like it was said above, when he uses his shot and keeps teams honest, it adds a whole new dimension to the team.

Last night he looked like Alfie did most of last year, just unquestionably the best player on the ice, and you cant imagine anyone in the league playing better. Thats a very good place to be, and really enjoyable for us the fans.

p.s. The National Post had a full page layout on Spezza this morning, pretty good article actually. I recommend it, some interesting nuggets

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10-27-2006, 08:51 AM
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Best game I have ever seen Spezza play. Not only because of his awesome plays (for Corvo's goal, or Heatley's goals), but because his effort level was great! He was battling hard out there, playing physical against Toronto's defensemen, winning many battles along the boards.

So to Spezza! When you play like that, you are amongst the top 3-4 centerman in the league!!!

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10-27-2006, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I.M. Fletcher View Post
I was always in the camp of "sometimes you take the good with the bad", so i cant say too much about how I was really down on him, but I think this thread came at a very appropriate time.

Spezza's play in the last two games was nothing short of remarkable. I really cannot think of any way he could have been better last night, there just were no flaws to his game. I said after the preseason and first 2 games that I thought Spezza looked like a Man on the ice, just dominating the puck and carrying the play. People got down on him (granted, I didnt see the games between now and then) but he has really used all his weapons the last couple games, and is really unstoppable when he does. Like it was said above, when he uses his shot and keeps teams honest, it adds a whole new dimension to the team.

Last night he looked like Alfie did most of last year, just unquestionably the best player on the ice, and you cant imagine anyone in the league playing better. Thats a very good place to be, and really enjoyable for us the fans.

p.s. The National Post had a full page layout on Spezza this morning, pretty good article actually. I recommend it, some interesting nuggets
QFT

I was the same way. I remember having discussions with people about Spezza when he was playing poorly that first stretch. I know people that were furious that he was doing drop passes. I've been of the mentality, that I'm willing to live with those, as long as he's doing more good than harm. Sometimes, you have to live with some mistakes of a high risk player, when he's putting up a point and a half a game. Where Spezza is improving, is knowing when to try those passes.

When he is on his game, I don't think any current player in the league can compete for his vision on the ice. He makes so many head-shaking passes, it's unbelievable.

When we do get frustrated with him, we should remember that last year, he cut out the worst of his high risk plays during the playoffs. He's a much smarter player than people in Ottawa like to credit him for. The giggling schoolboy act hurts fans confidence in him, but, he knows what he's doing out there. The fact that he has been steadily improving other aspects of his game is very positive aspect.

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10-27-2006, 09:02 AM
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One more thing, it's amazing what one week can do. Last week, the Sens were dead last for goals scored, and guys like Spezza and Heatley were struggling, and nowhere near the point totals that were expected of them.

Now, we're top 5 in GFA, and Heatley and Spezza are both on target for 100 point seasons again.

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10-27-2006, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by NyQuil View Post
What is perhaps more intriguing about yesterday's game was his 18/2 performance in the faceoff circle.

.
Spezza was awesome on the draw and Fisher was excellent too (13/7 I think).

Mcammond wasn't very good (on the draw ) - has he been a center for much of his career or is he normally a winger?

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10-27-2006, 09:59 AM
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Spezza was awesome on the draw and Fisher was excellent too (13/7 I think).

Mcammond wasn't very good (on the draw ) - has he been a center for much of his career or is he normally a winger?
Well, for the season thus far:

Spezza is at 61.8 %, Fisher is at 49.7 %, Kelly is at 43.2 %, McAmmond is at 39.8 % and Kaigodorov (24 faceoffs) is at 20.8 %.

It's too bad, I'd love to see Antoine taking some faceoffs but you can't really move him off that line.

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10-27-2006, 10:13 AM
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Spezza was incredible. But we have to see what happens when we play a real team...

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10-27-2006, 10:16 AM
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I also would like to send a high five to Muckler. We've been very critical of old mucks lately, but how happy are we right now with Joe Corvo. And, I won't speak for others, but I'm a fan of both Gerber and Preissing.

Mucks

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10-27-2006, 10:17 AM
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Spezza was incredible. But we have to see what happens when we play a real team...
Well Toronto is a borderline playoff team, so they're not an absolutely terrible team... and New Jersey should make the playoffs too...

But yeah, I can't wait until we play a Buffalo, or Carolina. Actually, our next 4-5 games will give us a good idea of where we're at... at Boston, at Montreal, Carolina at home, Washington at home and Atlanta at home. It'll be interesting to see how we do against these teams... We've had a lot of problems with Boston last season, plus they have Chara now so he might have revenge in his mind. And Atlanta is playing absolutely great hockey right now. Montreal, Carolina should make the playoffs, and never know with Washington with their young guns Ovechkin and Semin, plus Pothier who wants to prove to Muckler that he made a mistake letting him go. It'll be interesting for sure!

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10-27-2006, 10:20 AM
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Actually, our next 4-5 games will give us a good idea of where we're at... at Boston, at Montreal, Carolina at home, Washington at home and Atlanta at home.
It will be very interesting.

The Boston game in particular is compelling.

They just lost a heart-breaker and will be spoiling for revenge. Meanwhile, we'll have that emotional lull right after smoking our biggest rivals two-straight.

It's all about motivation and getting up for the Bruins. I find we tend to underestimate them and they were responsible for some of our worst defeats in the regular season last year. (after Thornton was traded, naturally)

If Murray is smart, he goes right back with Gerber.

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10-27-2006, 10:27 AM
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You mean I can wear my Spezza t-shirt to games again without worrying about having stuff thrown at me?

In all seriousness, Jason has been playing some great hockey these last few games. Spezza and Heatley don't only seem to be linked offensively, but also in effort level, backchecking etc. I suppose one flows from the other, but it's nice to see them both bringing it to the level we know they can, at the same time. I love seeing Heatley pumped.

Also, today is the one-year anniversary of Spezza's incredible OT winner against Montreal. He seems to like late October.

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10-27-2006, 10:27 AM
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Also, today is the one-year anniversary of Spezza's incredible OT winner against Montreal. He seems to like late October.
Very interesting point!

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10-27-2006, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kissmeimasensfan View Post
In all seriousness, Jason has been playing some great hockey these last few games. Spezza and Heatley don't only seem to be linked offensively, but also in effort level, backchecking etc. I suppose one flows from the other, but it's nice to see them both bringing it to the level we know they can, at the same time. I love seeing Heatley pumped.
To be honest, I don't think I have ever seen Spezza and Heatley play this good hockey ever. Of course, they were just as good offensively most of last season, but defensively, they were not. And like you said, their effort level has never been this high. It's still not the Heatley from first 2-3 seasons in the NHL, but it's getting closer!

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10-27-2006, 10:55 AM
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We should be taking credit for critizing Spezza to the point that he heard the boos and finally figured out he had to change his game. It was the first time I can ever remember where he personally got booed for his play. Both he and Heatley started to do the things we often mentioned on these boards and they both starting playing very good two way hockey and it is all thanks to the fans of these boards for pointing it out to them. It was a hard lesson learned but as Brandi said he'll be a better hockey player because of it. Now if everybody would start listening to us the world would be a much better place. Live long and prosper.

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10-27-2006, 11:11 AM
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You just learn to deal with the stupid mistakes he makes. He's still a very young guy and will improve, but they'll always be there. I've seen people get mad when he says that the mistakes are "part of his game", but it's absolutely true. The most creative players are always going to give the puck away more, but they end up helping their teams more often than not.

And while it is also true Heatley plays better when Spezza plays better, I thought Dany had a really solid game last night, all-around. He even threw a couple nice hits, which he should do more consistently.

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10-27-2006, 11:14 AM
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I've seen people get mad when he says that the mistakes are "part of his game", but it's absolutely true. The most creative players are always going to give the puck away more, but they end up helping their teams more often than not.
I would agree with this statement if he played the game the exact same way and it simply worked sometimes, and didn't at other times.

But when he's on the game, he plays DIFFERENTLY.

He plays with his head up a lot more. He looks around the ice before he makes his passes. He uses the trailer and isn't afraid to dump it if he gets in trouble. He shoots the puck. Most importantly, he limits the back-passes, moving the puck forward or sideways but not behind unless he takes a good look before he does so.

It's not as if he's playing the same way all the time, and sometimes he gets 5 points and sometimes he causes 2 SH goals.

If he played like he did last night and we still lost, I would not be criticizing him one bit.

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10-27-2006, 11:22 AM
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What the last 3 games have done is shown us exactly how extraordinary Spezza can be. His performance has been absolutely night and day, a total 180, contrasted against his miserable start. Whatever Murray has done or said to Heatley and more so Spezza has been effective. Spezza is a top, top player in this league when his effort level matches his skill level. These last few games against the leafs show how he can dismantle a weak defensive corps.

Knowing how solid Spezza can be unfortunately highlights some of his wildly unnecessary decisions and passes. As he matures and grows into his role, he'll have to handle the task of brining his 'A' game every night. I don't doubt he can bring it.

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10-27-2006, 11:31 AM
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The number one thing i noticed about that line and spezza in particular last night, was instead of them trying to deke the d-man at the blueline when the game was close, they just dumped the puck in the corner and actually went and got it. This directly led to heaters 2nd goal i believe where spezza was one on one with the dman and could've tried a move but dumped the puck into the zone instead.

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10-27-2006, 11:51 AM
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The number one thing i noticed about that line and spezza in particular last night, was instead of them trying to deke the d-man at the blueline when the game was close, they just dumped the puck in the corner and actually went and got it. This directly led to heaters 2nd goal i believe where spezza was one on one with the dman and could've tried a move but dumped the puck into the zone instead.
He fianally started to do what the coach has been asking him to do for two yrs now and Jacques before him.

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