Sunday, March 1, 2009

Toronto at Ottawa: Jason Spezza -2

Well wouldn't you know it -- after me writing two posts glowingly defending Jason Spezza from his detractors, he goes and has what can't even charitably be described as a "bad night". Sometimes I wonder about my own sanity here.

The own-goal -- well that's 90% bad luck and 90% bad positional play. But the hooking penalty that the Leafs converted to get back into the game deep in the third -- putting aside the fact that calling that kind of penalty reveals (again) how laughably bad inconsistent the officiating is -- I agree with most observers that Spezza got caught off the hop and made a lazy attempt to try to dig himself out of the situation.

An elite player should do better. Not "should do better when playing cross-provincial rivals" or "should do better when trying to protect a one-goal lead in the third" -- but should do better, period. Spezza is getting elite-player money and ice-time -- we need elite-player play from him on a consistent basis and none of this stupid, lazy-assed hockey.

Not to mention that getting a point from the game is perhaps the worst possible outcome. Beating the Leafs is always a good thing to aim for, if we can do it; failing that though, we shouldn't be trying to collect enough points to pull us out of draft position. Take the win and the opportunity to laugh at Toronto; or take the loss and the improved chances of a draft pick.

I'm still not on the Trade Jason Spezza bandwagon that so many others are on. But his value was definitely... let's say "not helped" by last night's game.