Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spezza inconsistent, but on his way: Hartsburg

Craig Hartsburg defended star centre Jason Spezza today, saying that despite his inconsistency--and despite his -4 rating--Spezza is improving. From the Ottawa Sun:
"People talk about turnovers, this and that ... great offensive players live on the edge. I'm not saying you have to live with it, but there are some ways you can try to teach them or promote, OK, you do this a little different and maybe that puck won't get turned over.

"His practice habits and the way he's approached everything for me have been great. He's been as hard a worker as we've had in practice. There will be some rewards for him as a player."

I took some heat for criticizing Spezza a little over a week ago, but I definitely think that if he picks his spots, he'll cut down on turnovers. And by playing smart hockey, Spezza can make sure that any turnovers that are committed are in low-risk situations. And if he adds a little gusto to his game, playing stronger on the puck and harder on the forecheck, he'd become one of the league's great players, not just one of the great playmakers.

How far does Spezza have to go? I don't know. Post comments with your thoughts, if you think you know.
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