It comes as no surprise that Spezza was going to be suspended. The “in-person” hearing was definitely made the suspension a lock, and set the bar of Players Safety targeting around 5 games or possibly more, with Spezza having the opportunity to maybe negotiate it down. With Spezza’s long career suspension free career there was certainly a possibility of that, but then again Players Safety is about as predictable as a goaltending prospect.
Toronto’s Jason Spezza has been suspended for six games for Kneeing Winnipeg’s Neal Pionk. https://t.co/DDlM0Tdzw3
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 8, 2021
So here we are. Jason gets six games. No Spezza until the Leafs play the Kraken on December 19th. (The things people will do to avoid an Alberta road trip.) The suspension is certainly warranted as there is little doubt that Spezza deliberately targeted Pionk, and even if the intent wasn’t to injure, he certainly wanted to make him hurt for what Pionk did to Sandin. Of course the fact that Spezza is missing more time than Pionk got for the Sandin hit is an irony not lost on Leafs fans.
Having Spezza out of the lineup at the same time as Marner is less than ideal, as Spezza looked to be one of the players most capable of temporarily stepping up into a top six role. Instead I guess we’ll be putting some eggs into Alex Steeves’ basket. And then hoping that Mikheyev will be ready to go sooner rather than later, although Toronto might need to rely on relief from Mikheyev being on the LTIR to backfill Spezza’s absence.
Though I guess if things keep going like they have against Columbus there isn’t much to worry about here.
For the details on all the other movements in Leafs land today check out the post below: