Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jason Spezza Helping to Lead Ottawa Senators Both on and off the Ice: Spezza Leading Sens on and off the Ice

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jason Spezza Helping to Lead Ottawa Senators Both on and off the Ice: Spezza Leading Sens on and off the Ice

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - Jason Spezza's offensive abilities have never been in question, but the Ottawa Senators' star centre has added another aspect to his game this season.

The 28-year-old leads the team in scoring with 33 goals and 50 assists but is now also part of a leadership group that includes captain Daniel Alfredsson and fellow alternate Chris Phillips.

The trio has been through the highs like the team's 2007 Stanley Cup final appearance and the lows, which included last season's miserable showing that saw many veterans shipped out of town.

All three have had bounce back seasons in 2011-12 as the Senators exceeded expectations by qualifying for the playoffs.

"We all kind of approach things differently," Spezza said Wednesday. "Alfie is very well spoken and Philly can be very level headed and I can be emotional at times and I think it's a good mix of a group.

"As a leadership group we get along real well and that's helped our team get success."

With over 600 career games, Spezza is considered a veteran. But he's also younger than Alfredsson and Phillips, meaning he can relate to everyone on the team.

"He's a little more vocal of the three," Senators winger Nick Foligno said. "He lets you know when he's mad and he lets you know when he's excited.

"I think he's done a tremendous job as a leader on this team and making sure guys are all feeling good and knowing the feel of the room.

"Alfie and Philly have done a great job, but Jason is just closer to that age where he's in the middle of the pack and can relate to both sides really well. I think our leadership group as a whole has been great."

Alfredsson has watched Spezza develop from a rookie to the confident, dynamic player he is today.

"He's definitely got to be one of the guys they consider (as a future captain)," Alfredsson said. …

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