Spezza has the size, he has the smarts, and he has the hands. That's all good.
But where's the drive? Where's the killer instinct? Where's that "special something" that differentiates the great players from the game-breakers?
The Senators are now in the unenviable position of having to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins three straight times to avoid elimination from the opening round of these NHL playoffs. Miracles do happen, at least from time to time, and right now the Sens are in dire need of divine intervention.
But they could start with a better performance from their No. 1 centre.
Spezza is not the sole reason Ottawa is on the ropes, but he can shoulder his share of the blame and then some. One goal and four assists and a minus-4 in four games is not what one expects from a team's go-to guy.
The Sens need only to look toward the other bench to see how a star is supposed to elevate his game at this time of year. After an average Game 1, Sidney Crosby is now carrying the Penguins on his back. The Penguins have scored 16 goals and Crosby has had a hand in 11 of them. He had two goals and four points in Tuesday's 7-4 victory in Game 4 and Pittsburgh now has a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.
As for Spezza?
We're not saying that Spezza can match Crosby point for point - few, if any, NHLers can - but you have to think that more was expected from the Senators veteran at the outset of this series.
Think back to Game 2 when Crosby cranked it up when the Penguins needed to win to avoid being swept at home. He scored a goal, saved a goal, and then set up the winning goal. The highlight of the game came when Crosby was being chased by Spezza around the Senators' net. Crosby won the foot race and after he fell to the ice he made a great extra effort to throw the puck to Kris Letang, who blasted one in on a screen shot.
In Tuesday's game, Spezza showed flashes of taking his game to another level, but that was only after he suffered a brain cramp at his own blue line that sparked the Penguins' run. The centre's cough-up in the second period led to a Crosby goal, which the Penguins rode to build up a 4-0 lead later that period.
It was a sign of things to come. The Penguins made the Senators pay for every mistake.
"We're not forcing them to make enough mistakes. It's tough to battle back when you give up that many goals early on."
Ottawa showed glimpses of life after the Pens jumped to the lead, with Spezza displaying his offensive flare when Ottawa enjoyed a couple of 5-on-3 advantages. A no-look cross-crease pass produced a goal by Matt Cullen in the second period, and then Spezza wheeled out from the corner and scored on a wrist shot in the third to make the score 6-4. But it was all for naught.
Clouston is all about team work, and that's all fine and dandy.
But teams need their best players to lead, their stars to dig deep and take their game to another level. It's the "follow me boys" mentality that Pittsburgh is getting from Crosby and somehow you think that kind of leadership is somewhere deep inside Spezza.
But then again, it may just be a case of what you see is what you get.