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Spezza not expected back before playoffs

Mar 29, 2013, 1:28 PM EDT

Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center on March 4, 2012 in Sunrise, Florida.
(March 3, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators will likely be without Jason Spezza until at least the end of the regular season, general manager Bryan Murray told reporters today.

It remains unclear if Spezza will be back for the playoffs. The 29-year-old has been out of the lineup since late January and underwent back surgery on Feb. 1.

There had been hope right up until a few weeks ago that Spezza might return around the April 3 trade deadline.

Per Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes, the Sens are not saying Spezza has suffered a setback; rather, they say the rehab is just taking a little longer than expected.

Even without Spezza — not to mention Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek, and Craig Anderson — the Sens have managed to keep winning. They head into tomorrow’s game with the Maple Leafs with six victories in their last seven.

Just so everyone remembers…

Spezza was the team’s leading points-getter last year.

Karlsson was the NHL’s best defenseman.

Michalek led the team in goals last year.

And Anderson was the early-season Vezina Trophy favorite.

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