Hartsburg puts pressure on Spezza to play better

TSN.ca Staff
11/10/2008 4:35:55 PM
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One day after publicly calling out Senators forward Jason Spezza, head coach Craig Hartsburg backed off his comments about the star centre.

''That was yesterday, we've moved on,'' Hartsburg said following Monday's morning skate. "We've talked yesterday and he knows he has to play better, and he will play better.''

Following Sunday's practice Hartsburg singled out Spezza, suggesting he had poor work habits and consistency.

"I have no problem with the way Dany Heatley's working and competing. I think Jason needs to play a better game," Hartsburg told the Ottawa Sun on Sunday. "We certainly need Jason to be our best player. That's what he's supposed to be: be one of our best players every night. He has got so much talent and his size and everything.If he shows more consistency in his work and his competing, he should be a dominant player."

Spezza acknowledged the coach's comments.

"Obviously when the coach challenges me, I'd like to think I can respond.'' Spezza said on Monday. "It's no secret I'm not happy how every game has been for me. I know I have to be better.''

In the last five games, Spezza has recorded just one assist and with his slumping linemates - Dany Heatley and Antoine Vermette - the trio have managed just two even-strength goals.

Spezza sits fourth in team scoring, with 13 points on five goals and eight assists.

"Obviously I have to be a little more consistent than I've been,'' said Spezza. ''We have talked a little bit in the last couple of days. I think I have a lot more to give too. I've had some good games, some bad games but I know I have to better for our team to be better."

While Spezza's line works to find more consistency, the Senators' second unit of Mike Fisher, Daniel Alfredsson and Jesse Winchester have started to find their way, scoring three goals in their last three games.

Jason Spezza (Photo: Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)


(Photo: Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
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