Spezza gets back on ice for Senators
OTTAWA — Nearly four months of wondering when he would play hockey again ended for Jason Spezza on Sunday night.
Sidelined by Feb. 1 surgery to fix a herniated disc in his back, Spezza rejoined the Ottawa Senators lineup and was watched closely by the Penguins. He is, after all, a guy who had 84 points a year ago.
Spezza fought for space and mixed it up physically a bit, but even with thousands of fans chanting his name, he wasn't able to put points on the board. But the Senators still won, 2-1, in double overtime with Colin Greening scoring the winner.
It was the second time Spezza had been on the operating table for his balky back. Spezza said there was no hesitation to sidetrack his season, not after playing half a season with agonizing back pain six years ago. Back then, Spezza first felt pain in December, battled through it, hoping it would go away. It didn't. He had surgery in the summer of 2006.
“It got to the point where I couldn't go out to dinner with the guys, I'd eat standing up,” said Spezza. “I slept on the floor. I'd start on the bed and wind up on the floor. Those were pretty dark times.”
So when it happened this time, there was no hesitation.
“For whatever reason, one or two games into the season, it flared up,” said Spezza. “I wasn't messing around with it. I took a cortisone shot, and it didn't do anything. When you take a cortisone shot and it doesn't work, you know it's time for surgery.
“The surgeon warned me ahead of time that this might shut me down for the year. Fortunately for me, the team has played for so long and given me a chance to get back.”
He was supposed to be out 12 weeks; it's been 16.
Playing in Game 3 against Penguins was where Spezza wanted to be. But it was tough to get there.
“Once you have back problems, they never really leave you,” he said. “My wife doesn't like when I have to sit on the floor and stretch instead of sitting on the couch with her. I wouldn't wish back pain on my worst enemy.”
Tim Baines is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- Penguins notebook: Crosby most excited by Kessel’s footspeed
- Crosby’s off-ice life hardly reflects that of a superstar
- Sestito ready to fight for job on Penguins
- Penguins defenseman Oleksy brings nasty streak, toughness
- Penguins’ Johnston: Kessel, Crosby likely to open season together
- Ex-Penguin Kennedy skates with former teammates, hopes to catch on with a team