In a season filled with miserable moments, the Ottawa Senators finally received some good news as they learned that playmaker Jason Spezza was set to make his return to the Sens lineup in time for Saturday's tilt against the New York Islanders.
"I feel good so I'm hoping to play Saturday," Spezza told reporters following practice on Thursday. "I'll have another good practice (on Friday) and I'm excited to get back,"
"I definitely want to come back and play well and hopefully get us some wins."
The 27-year old Spezza has not played since suffering a shoulder injury on Boxing Day that has caused him to miss 15 straight games. Head coach Cory Clouston said that Spezza's presence alone should help give the team an offensive jump.
"We need him to contribute offensively the way we know he can," Clouston said.
The Senators could certainly use a boost as they have lost eight straight games and 14 of their last 15. They have not posted a victory at Scotiabank Place since Spezza went down with the injury on December 26th against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I think that I can bring a positive attitude and brings the guys a little bit of jump," said Spezza. "Sometimes when you can inject some new guys into the lineup it helps the group out."
While the Mississauga, Ontario native says that he is shooting pain free, one aspect of his game that is still not up to speed is his ability to take faceoffs, a responsibility that he will likely shift to linemate Nick Foligno.
"The plan is that I'm going to take some draws and see how I feel," said Spezza. "Even if I can't take faceoffs right away, I'm better off playing still."
The struggling Senators will take any contribution that they can get. While Spezza was not ready to set too many goals for the remainder of the season, getting his team back in the win column was his main objective.
"I can be positive in the dressing room and hopefully I can get us off on the right foot and just get a win."