Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray doesn't expect forward Jason Spezza back during the final month of the regular season, according to a report by NHL Network insider Chris Johnston.
Spezza hasn't played since Jan. 27 due to a back injury that required surgery. The forward had a point in all five games he played this season, posting two goals and three assists, and was the Senators' leading goal-scorer last season with 34.
The good news for the Senators is they're in strong position to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs even without Spezza, defenseman Erik Karlsson and several other regulars. They enter the weekend fifth in the Eastern Conference with 44 points.
That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.
— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4