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Experience pays off for Spezza at the faceoff dots

Thursday, 11.9.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Experience pays off for Spezza at the faceoff dots
Senators centre Jason Spezza has been among the best faceoff men in the NHL this season.

by Todd Anderson

This season Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza has been among the top faceoff men in the NHL. Heading into last night's game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Spezza ranked fourth among NHL centres, with at least 200 draws to their credit, with a 57.3 per cent success rate. Experience has played a big part in his success.

"It's about taking more draws and feeling more comfortable," Spezza says. "When I first came (to Ottawa), we never practised it. Now it's a regular part of the routine. (Faceoffs) are a bit of a mental game. You have to fight for your area. (New Jersey Devil) Johnny Madden and I fought quite a bit for space last game. When I came (into the NHL) three years ago, I always put my stick down first. It was a respect thing."

Spezza says that's not the case anymore. NHL rules stipulate that visiting players must put their sticks down first during draws. Spezza makes sure that's what happens at Scotiabank Place.

"(Colorado Avalanche captain) Joe Sakic wouldn't put his stick down first (during a game at Scotiabank Place on Oct.19)," Spezza recalls with a smile. "I told him to put his stick down and I would put mine down first when we go back to play them in Colorado in three years."

Senators assistant coach Greg Carvel routinely works with the Senators centres on gamedays to get their timing down for faceoffs. He says talented players like Spezza are the ones who seem to thrive at the faceoff dot.

"Definitely there's skill involved, " Carvel says. "The guys who have a knack for it have good hand-eye co-ordination and are good with the puck. Jason is one of the better faceoff guys in the league because of his ability."

Carvel adds that success in faceoffs is essential to enjoy success as a team.

"Especially on special teams and late in games," Carvel says. "It's a lot better to have the puck than to have to go and chase around for it. Faceoffs are one of those little things that makes a difference."

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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02