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Maple Leafs’ Jason Spezza: I’m Desperate to Return and Want to Win

The Toronto Maple Leafs season is barely over and already fans know one player – Jason Spezza – wants to return. What drives this veteran?

Jason Spezza has been a Maple Leafs’ player for two seasons now, and he’s been a great bargain at the NHL league-minimum contract he’s signed. He might be classified as an “aging veteran,” but he shows up season after season. And he contributes.

Related: NHL Analyst Claims Maple Leafs’ Biggest Need Is A Third-Line Center

There Might Be Fingers Pointed for the Playoff Loss, But None at Spezza

That was true during this season’s playoffs just as it was during the regular season. He finished the 2020-21 playoffs with three goals and two assists (for five points) in seven games. He took difficult defensive zone playoffs. He added strength to the power play. He scored five-on-five, and he did it playing fourth line minutes – around 12 minutes each game.

Already, there seems to be a lot of finger-pointing and blaming for the series loss to the Montreal Canadiens. However, none of that blame has been directed towards Spezza. He’s earned every dollar of his bargain contract.

Spezza Wants to Return to the Maple Leafs

Today, during a Sportsnet’ interview, Spezza let it be known that he’d like to play another season with the Maple Leafs. Although the Maple Leafs’ season ended much too quickly with the seven-game series loss to the Canadiens, that doesn’t mean that Spezza didn’t enjoy his season playing in his hometown.

When he was asked if he wanted to play another season with the Maple Leafs, Spezza responded, “Yeah, I would. I feel like there’s a lot of unfinished business, I feel very invested in the group here and hopeful that I get another opportunity to do that again next year and push this team over the top.”

Spezza Discusses His Desire to Return

In the video below, Spezza shares with the media that he wants to return to Maple Leafs next season. Furthermore, he wants to win. He clearly believes he still has a lot to give. However, he also knows that he doesn’t have many chances left for a run at the Stanley Cup. That’s what really pushes him to want to win.

Spezza Feels Invested in the Maple Leafs’ Group

During the interview, Spezza noted that “I feel like there’s a lot of unfinished business. I feel very invested in the group here, and I’m hopeful that I get another opportunity to do that again next year and push this team over the top.”

He also admitted that, at his age (he’ll be 38-years-old in 10 days), “I love the game, (however) I think I realized that my opportunities to win are becoming less and less and that probably creates a high level of desperation internally for me to be my best everyday.”

He added: “I’m not sure how much longer this goes or I get an opportunity to try to win; and, I really want to win. So I think that drives me.”

Related: The Maple Leafs Expect Changes: What Will They Be?

Spezza Thanks the Maple Leafs Staff for Helping Him Prepare for Success

Gracious as ever, Spezza noted that “I think I’ve was a product of working with our staff here.”

He added that “A lot of credit goes to those guys for helping me get my body right and prepare by getting into really good shape.” He believed “the work and the attention those guys give me throughout the season was incredible.”

Jason Spezza Frederik Andersen Upper Deck Toronto Maple Leafs

Spezza specifically noted that “I’m very thankful to that because it would be easy just to leave a guy like me alone and focus on the younger guys.” However, Spezza was thankful that “there’s a lot of attention put into helping me succeed and preparing for games.”

And, he thinks that personal attention helped. However, he mostly thought that “It’s just that I feel like I have lots to give still, and I feel like I can help a team.”

Jason Spezza is clear that he’s driven to play and to win. Maple Leafs fans have to hope their team sees fit to bring him back for one more in Toronto. He’ll finish his career playing in the blue and white uniform of the Maple Leafs. I hope it wasn’t this season.

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