First up is fan and lady favorite Mike Fisher. No one ever questions his heart ever! One thing you can say about Ol Blue Eyes is that he definitely always plays hard. It's his combination of grit and character that has won over the SBP faithful inspite of his bad contract. It seems kinda crazy to think but the 29 year old is entering his 10th season with the Sens, but has sort of topped out as a player. Despite all of that, he has always been a classic underachiver, never getting more then 48 points in a season. He can be an extremely frustrating player at times and abnormally streaky (see 20+ games without scoring). He would be a good choice but at the same time, I don't think he needs the A to be a leader. He leads by example as is. On the plus or minus side, depending how you feel about it, he also dates Carrie Underwood, which brings the Sens extra exposure south of the border.
Next up is Jason Spezza. He came to the Sens as a prodigy out of junior hockey, a multiple future all star in the making and has lived up to the hype. The 26 year old is starting his 8th season with the Sens and is entering his prime years as a hockey player. More importantly, he has showed his maturity in recent months, esepcially during the Heatley fiasco. He showed his loyalty to the organization, its fans and the city of Ottawa, even marrying a local girl. He said all the right things this summer, convincing many that he was on the verge of a monster year for the Sens. He was even coverting some of the most steadfast Spezza haters into believers. He will be our leading scorer again this year and the key to our team. He has the most to gain with the A and giving him it might just be what he needs to take his game to the next level.
Next we have the A-Train, Anton Volchenkov. The 27 year old is starting his 8th campaign with Ottawa and is the definition of putting the team first. He was always a hard hitter, but in recent years he has become one of the league's best shot blockers as well. He has become a bit of a cult hero with Sens Army, for his willingness to put the team ahead of his own health. When they look up team player in the dictionary, his face would be next to it. Plus in the pre-game player intro's, he always managed to make me laugh when he said Moscow, Russia. His offensive game is well, truly awful but he definitely has the character needed to be an affective leader. On the minus side, he speaks english poorly and would be hard for him to get his message across in that aspect and he is an UFA at the end of this season.
And finally we have Chris Neil. We know Murray and Clouston must love the guy to give him that 4 year, 8 million dollar deal right? We also know Neil loves the Senators and the city, as anyone who heard him speak this summer can attest to. The lovefest continued all summer, with him backing Melnyk and the organization when it came to the Heatley situation. Everyone loves a loyal guy. He has definitely showed his heart and desire on the ice as well (Lucic fight anyone). He has the character to be a leader and is a fan favorite but in the end, a 4th line guy isn't significant enough of a role to get the A.
So who did I pick? It was a tough decision and it came down to Fisher and Spezza for me. I found it interesting that all 4 finalists are career Senators. They all have their pros and cons but in the end, it's what best for the team and who would benefit most from it. That's why I have decided to go with Jason Spezza. He's earned it and he's the one who has the most to gain from it. He will take the honor and take his game to thenext level to show he's worthy of it. Jason Spezza will have the A on his jersey on Saturday night in NYC, Book it!
What do you guys think, am I right? Am I crazy? Will the Sens pick someone else? Let me know your thoughts.