Spezza never wanted to be traded from the Sens
Melissa Juergensen, ctvottawa.ca
Published Tuesday, July 20, 2010 4:32PM EDT
The highest paid member of the Ottawa Senators says he's always wanted to stay in Ottawa, despite getting booed by fans during this year's playoff run.
"At no point did I ever demand a trade to Bryan Murray," Spezza told reporters on Tuesday.
"I read the newspapers, and I see every year there's trade talk about me, and I just basically told him (general manager Bryan Murray) that ‘if you want to move me, you can move me.'"
- EXTENDED COVERAGE: Watch as Spezza speaks to reporters in Ottawa
When the playoffs ended, Murray and Spezza discussed his July 1 no-trade clause. Although Spezza said he wanted to stay with the hockey club, he asked Murray to consider what was best for the team, and the city. Murray decided to keep Spezza in Ottawa.
"To be honest, I was happy about it because I like being here in Ottawa, but I also want to be sure that I'm here and what's best for the team," Spezza said.
Over the years, Spezza's name has been linked to trade speculation many times. Now, he wants to put all the trade talk behind him.
"My priorities are here in Ottawa, I want to win in Ottawa. I have great friends here, we have great roots here. My family enjoys it, we're close to home," he said while hosting his own charity golf tournament benefiting the Ottawa Senators Foundation in support of Ronald McDonald House and Roger's House.
"I have a no-trade now. I'm here, I'm committed and I don't plan on talking about this again. This isn't an ongoing thing. I'm focused on winning here now. I'm focused on becoming a better player, and you know it's tough when you lose in the playoffs and a lot of emotions happen and there's a lot said in meetings and I think it just got blown out of proportion a little bit."
Getting booed at home
Spezza most recently came under criticism when fans booed him on home ice after he made errors in the first round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sens lost in six games.
"Nobody likes getting booed at home," Spezza said. "You can boo me all you want on the road, but it's not something you like. But you put a lot into your job and you put a lot into hockey and I'm trying every night and I'm trying to become a better player."
Spezza didn't pull a ‘Heatley'
Murray spoke publically about Spezza's future in June, telling reporters the star centre told him he "wouldn't object" to a trade if it happened, fuelling speculation that Spezza was pulling a similar move to Dany Heatley who demanded to be traded out of Ottawa last year.
Spezza's teammates say the two situations are extremely different.
"It's not even close to the Dany situation," said Sens forward Chris Kelly. "Obviously Dany wanted to go play somewhere else and that was his choice. But by no means does Jason want to go play somewhere else. He wants to play here and win here."
Goaltender Pascal Leclair agrees: "I talked to Jason a couple times this summer and he seems happy here and there's no issues and for guys here in the locker room, there's no issue with Jason. He's a great guy; he's a great player; he's a great teammate."