In his first interview since Daniel Alfredsson left the Senators centre Jason Spezza talks about the future captaincy and life without Alfie.

How’s your summer been?

It’s been really good. Lots of family time we’ve been here in Etobicoke the whole time. Got away for a little bit. My parents pretty much live right down the street we can walk over every day and hang out. My wife likes it it’s good for us. And the kids (two young girls) love it.

You missed most of last season with back and knee injuries. How are they now?

Good. Everything is good. I had a (knee) scope right after the season and that didn’t hold me up too much and the back was good enough that I could play those playoff games it wasn’t perfect. But by having a full summer here to train and do everything it’s been nice. I’ve been able to skate a lot more than I normally would because I missed (most of) the season so I’ve been skating quite a bit.

I’m skating earlier and more frequently than normal – already four times a week now. Knock on wood but I haven’t had any trouble. I’m enthused. I’ve been able to put in the time to help prepare for the rigors of the season.

Do you still consider these workouts part of your rehab or are you back to regular off-season strength training?

I’m definitely doing strength training more than I’ve done the last couple of years but I still kind of treat it as rehab too. A lot of it is back-focused making sure that I’m strengthening my back as much as I can so I give myself a good platform going into the season..

I’m doing full hill workouts stuff I wasn’t able to do the last couple of years because of my back. I’m definitely able to focus a bit more on that stuff.

With a back you’re never completely out of the woods but I haven’t had to take any days off because of it.

How did you hear about captain Daniel Alfredsson’s departure to Detroit and what was your immediate reaction?

I spoke to Alfie the night before he was good enough to call me. We discussed a few things he kind of gave me his point of view his side of the story. I was surprised I will be honest. Not in a million years would I have thought that he wouldn’t have come back (to Ottawa) if he was going to play. After talking to him I could understand his rationale and the decision he wanted to make. He knows what he has to do with his career. We support him and there will be no ill will against him from our part.

Do you have a theory on what prompted him to leave?

I think so but Daniel can tell what he wants to talk about. As a player I understand his want to win a Stanley Cup. And he felt that moving elsewhere gave him an opportunity. I can’t say I completely agree but I support him a hundred per cent he’s just looking to do what’s best for him. He’s probably looking for a new chapter in his career.

What would it mean to you to be the next captain of the Ottawa Senators?

For me things have progressed naturally. By having Alfie there for so long and taking on a bigger leadership role on the team becoming captain would be a great next step for me and something I have been working towards. You never knew when it was going to happen or if it would happen – but the best thing for me if I become captain – and I don’t know if I will be or not – I won’t have to change anything. I’m ready for more responsibility and we have great leadership. With Alfie Philly (Chris Phillips) and Chris Neil we led as a group and that won’t change. For me it would be a huge honour but I won’t have to change much.

Despite the loss of Alfredsson some hockey people believe the team is stronger overall with the additions of Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur. What say you?

We’ve added two good hockey players Bobby is entering his prime. He seems really enthused to come to our club. At times he felt like the odd man out I think in Anaheim to add a guy of that calibre is a big addition to any club. And Clarke MacArthur has given us fits over the years. He’s had our number a little bit (as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs). With our club we need a bit of experience and he can bring that.