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Veteran Presence

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – One of the most seasoned veterans around, Jaroslav Spacek is getting set to gear up for the 14th NHL campaign of his career.

The 2011-12 season will mark the 37-year-old Czech’s third year donning a Canadiens’ uniform. With 834 regular-season games already under his belt, the most senior member of the Habs squad will be aiming to become the 17th Czech player to crack the 900 games mark in the NHL.

While a knee injury may have temporarily sidelined him, allowing him to only play 59 games in his most recent campaign, Spacek still managed shoulder an enormous work load in 2010-11, helping fill the void left by injured blue-line staples, Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov.

Posting the best differential not just among defensemen, but out of the entire Canadiens roster, Spacek would close out the season with 16 points and a +-9 rating.

If he can manage to find the same success in his upcoming season, Spacek stands to register a seventh consecutive campaign with an above-zero differential, which would make him only the fourth active NHL defenseman to accomplish the feat.

Slated to turn 38 in the month of February, the 2011-12 season should prove to be a pivotal one for Spacek. With his three-year contract with the Canadiens expiring at the end of the upcoming campaign, Spacek will soon find himself faced with some difficult questions regarding his career. For the moment, however, there’s still a full season of hockey to be played.

“You know, I’m not 20 anymore,” Spacek pointed out during the course of the 2010-11 season. But watching him on the ice, it can sometimes be easy to forget that.

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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