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Spezza fine with ‘demotion’ to fourth line

Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza still had his usual sense of humourafter finding out he’d been assigned to fourth-line duty with Canada atthe IIHF World Championship.

Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza still had his usual sense of humour after finding out he’d been assigned to fourth-line duty with Canada at the IIHF World Championship.

“Grindin’ it out,” he told reporters with his trademark giggle, “That’s the strength of my game.”

The skilled 24-year-old is taking the glass-half-full approach to a move that head coach Ken Hitchcock refused to categorize as a demotion. Spezza initially skated on a scoring line with Eric Staal, but the two couldn’t find any chemistry.

Now, they’re centring their own lines, with 36-goal-scorer Patrick Sharp on Spezza’s wing and what Hitchcock called a “four-man rotation” working the opposite side.

“It’s tough to come to these things where everybody’s a centre,” Spezza said. “This is a good solution to get me and Staalsy in our regular positions and hopefully spark something.”

Canada’s top line of Dany Heatley, Ryan Getzlaf and Rick Nash has been scoring at will, and the checking line of Chris Kunitz, Shane Doan and Jonathan Toews is working well.

It’s the other two lines Hitchcock is worried about.

“We have a one and a three, and we’d like to have a one, a two and two threes,” Hitchcock said. “We don’t want to have a fourth line. It doesn’t work that way (at the worlds).”


 
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