Wednesday, August 12, 2009


CALGARY - Jason Spezza will take part in the national men's Olympic team orientation camp, Hockey Canada announced Tuesday.

The Ottawa Senators sniper will replace Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf, who is recovering from off-season surgery.

Spezza is no stranger to the national team, having played for Canada at five IIHF World Championships. He was initially passed over in July when executive director Steve Yzerman announced the invitation list.

Joe Sakic, who just announced his retirement from the NHL, will also not be attending.

The camp will take place from Aug. 24 to 27 and now includes five goaltenders, 16 defencemen and 25 forwards.

Jason Spezza was born June 13, 1983 in Mississauga, Ontario. The first round, 2nd overall selection of the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Spezza is a graduate of the OHL where he had stops with Brampton, Mississauga, Windsor and Belleville.
An offensively gifted player, Spezza is one of the most highly touted prospects in recent years, often compared to NHL Superstar and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, Spezza size and offensive ability have made him the talk of the hockey world from the age of 14 when he played his game in the OHL for the Brampton Battalion. Throughout his illustrious junior career, Spezza accounted for 131 goals and 222 assists for 353 points in 223 games before joining the Ottawas AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids for the 2001-02 post season.

Spezza returned to the AHL in 2002-03 after the Grand Rapids franchise relocated to Binghamton. Even though he spent the majority of the season in the AHL with Binghamton, Spezza saw action in 33 games with the Senators in 2002-03, registering 21 points (7-14-21) before becoming a regular in the Ottawa lineup in 2003-04.

In his first full season with the club, Spezza recorded 55 points (22-33-55). The following year Spezza returned to the AHL due to the NHL lock out and simply dominated. He recorded a staggering 23 goals and 85 assists (second highest assist total in AHL history) for 117 points. When the NHL returned to action, the Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson line led the club's offensive output all season long. During the subsequent playoffs, Spezza and the Sens captured the Eastern Conference championship after defeating the Presidents' Trophy winning Buffalo Sabers.

Over the summer of 2007, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dramatically changed the club's management by firing General Manager John Muckler. He was quickly replaced by Bryan Murray who in turn promoted assistant coach John Paddock to head coach. Murray promtly signed Spezza to a seven-year $49 million contract extension with the Sens, and went on to lead the club in points with 92 and match a career best 34 goals. However, the Senators struggled through January and February and were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the international stage, Spezza has represented his country at the 2000, 2001 and 2002 World Junior Championships where he collected a silver and two bronze medals. He also was a member of Canada's 2008 World Championship club which was defeated in the finals by Russia.

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