uspw_6949762The Ottawa Senators have been dealt a significant blow to their abbreviated season as centre Jason Spezza will be out about two months – give or take.

General manager Bryan Murray confirmed that Spezza would have back surgery for a herniated disc and didn’t give an exact time frame, but he seemed to hint about the possibility that the Mississauga native could be back in action around the post-season.

“I can’t give you a time frame simply because until the surgery and rehab starts we won’t know the total extent,” said Murray. “We are hoping that he gets back at the later part of the season and if we’re in the playoffs (he) will be able to participate at that time.”

Spezza generally pops in an average of 84 points or so, which means his absence will sting even in a shortened season.

“Like us, he’s devastated,” Murray said. “We all know the importance of Jason and what he brings to the table here as well. For him, and a young man coming off a great year, he was hoping to build on that.”

Luckily, the Senators know how to get by without key players. They’ve been shuffling the deck somewhat and will probably keep going with Kyle Turris between Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek, but that doesn’t mean Spezza’s absence won’t be felt.

“It’s a big void out there. (Spezza) plays a lot of minutes for us and he’s big on the faceoffs,” says Chris Neil. “But it’s another opportunity for other guys to step up. It makes us more of a four-line team. “We can roll all four lines, and we’ve got the confidence to put our third or fourth line out against their top two lines and get the job done. It has to be a group effort.”

“You can’t replace high-end skill very easily,” Murray said of possibly seeking outside help via trade. “I don’t think there is another team that will call me and offer help when I go back to my office. That’s not how we work in our business. It’s a big loss.”