Just like old times for Spezzas
With Auld ailing, Matthew Spezza answers brother's call as practice fill-in
|Matthew Spezza answers media questions in front of brother Jason's stall in the Senators dressing room after filling in for ill goaltender Alex Auld during the team's practice on Friday.
But there they were again Friday morning at Scotiabank Place. Jason Spezza firing pucks toward the net during an Ottawa Senators practice with his younger brother, Matthew, standing between the pipes.
"A proud day for mom," Jason Spezza said with a grin as the Senators began filtering into their dressing room, while Matthew stayed on the ice a bit longer to soak up every moment of the opportunity.
Turns out Matthew Spezza was the right guy in the right place. When Alex Auld was forced to bow out of today's workout because of the flu, head coach Cory Clouston was in need of a second goaltender for practice.
"I got the call this morning that Auldy was sick and Matty is in town for a bit, so it was fun to have him out," said Jason Spezza. "I enjoyed it a lot."
When his brother asked, Matthew certainly wasn't about to say no.
"Jay gave me a call this morning and said (Auld) was ill and asked me if I wanted to come and skate (with the Senators) and I said no problem," said Matthew Spezza, 22, who's three years younger than Jason. "It's always a good experience for me and a thrill for me to practise with (NHL) guys. I don't want to make myself look bad in front of these guys or else I'll hear about it."
Especially from the Senators' No. 19, no doubt, even if it's all in fun.
"I'm always putting in a little bit of effort against him but I think I want to stop everybody," said Matthew, whose two-year major junior career included three games with the Ottawa 67's (he's out of work at the moment after recently parting ways with the Flint Generals of the International Hockey League).
Senators head coach Cory Clouston appreciated the extra hand.
"It's nice to have guys like that come in to help us out," he said. "It's not fun to run a practice with one goaltender."
Taking in the scene from the stands, as luck would have it, was the Spezzas' dad, Rino.
"My parents are here for the weekend, so it was nice for him to watch practice today," said Jason Spezza. "He likes coming to practices anyways when he's in town, so I'm sure he enjoyed it."
The occasion reminded Jason Spezza of their hockey playing days as youngsters growing up in Mississauga, Ont.
"He's a few years younger than me and I think, by default, he got stuck in the net and I got to shoot on him quite a bit," said Jason Spezza. "We'd play in the basement and it was pretty fun. We still skate together in the summers, but it was fun to get in a real practice (today)."