There is some irony in the fact that Jason Spezza was finally traded on Canada Day. Maikel Franco Jersey . After all, there had been weeks of speculation that the star centre wasnt enamoured with the idea of playing in a Canadian market. But a few hours after the trade, Spezza wanted to make it clear that he wasnt leaving Ottawa because he couldnt stand the pressure and scrutiny that came with playing in the nations capital. “I dont think thats accurate," Spezza told TSN.ca. "My biggest motivator for a trade was to win. It will be portrayed however they want it to be portrayed, but the last thing I was worried about was coming out and doing interviews in front of my stall.” During the past month, it was widely reported that Spezza put the other Canadian teams on his no-trade list and that his desire was to go south of the border, where he would face less scrutiny. However, Spezza said the fact that most Canadian teams are struggling right now was the biggest reason why he put them on his no-trade list. He is never one to shy away from microphones and says he would welcome playing in a Canadian market again down the road if the opportunity arose. “It was more circumstance than anything of why those (Canadian) teams were on my list. I have one year left on my deal and I wanted to go someplace where I could win a Cup,” Spezza said. The troubling trend for Senators fans, however, is that Spezza is the latest superstar to have a somewhat messy departure from their city. In the summer of 2009, Dany Heatley demanded a trade and ultimately forced the clubs hand into trading him to San Jose. Last summer, Daniel Alfredsson and the organization had a sudden and bitter divorce, prompting the long-time captain to sign with Detroit as a free agent. Now that Spezza has been shipped to Dallas, it only adds to the growing perception that superstars have a short shelf life in Ottawa. But Spezza says the fans in Ottawa arent to blame for a number of players wanting to leave in a short window of time. “Its a fine market for stars, but just like any hockey market, its tough when youre not winning. All three situations are unique. I didnt make my decision because of Alfie and Alfie didnt make his decision because of Heater,” Spezza explained. “We all had our own reasons. There were some similarities, but in the end, each was a unique case.” In some ways, this does appear to be different than the Alfredsson saga from last summer, when the captain abruptly ended his tenure with the club. Spezza appeared to have a more calculated, long-term approach – far less emotional than the course Alfredsson seemed to take. But there is a striking similarity between Alfredssons comments last summer and the ones made by Spezza today. In each case, the captain felt like he had a better chance to win a Stanley Cup with a different organization. “All I can say is my goal is to win a Cup. I think Ottawa has a good chance. They have a good core of young players and a good nucleus. But for me right now, I just felt like Dallas was a great fit,” Spezza added. Spezza said he had discussions with Bryan Murray towards the end of the season and alerted the front office that he likely wasnt going to re-sign a contract extension beyond 2015. And rather than make it awkward for everyone during the 2014-15 season – constantly answering questions about his future – he felt it was best for all parties involved to make a preemptive move this summer. “I didnt have any interest in signing an extension and that kind of hinted to them that maybe it was time to move on. I met with Bryan and had some really good and frank discussions. And I was being honest with them when I said it was best for me and best for them if I moved on,” Spezza explained. Spezza was asked if he knew the regular season finale in Pittsburgh on April 13 would be his last game in a Senators jersey. He scored a brilliant goal in the shootout to secure a Senators 3-2 victory and he admitted, “It wasnt lost on me that it could have been my last goal with Ottawa.” Spezza said he stayed quiet for the past few weeks out of respect for the process, but once Murray told reporters at the NHL GM meetings last month that Spezza had indeed requested a trade, he knew the writing was on the wall. “Once Bryan went public, I knew it was probably done for me there,” he said. (Spezza also went out of his way to point out that he still has a terrific relationship with Murray and holds the Senators general manager in the highest regard). Spezza isnt sure how the crowd at Canadian Tire Centre would react to his appearance when he makes his return to Ottawa on January 29, 2015 in a Dallas Stars jersey, but he does want Senators fans to know that he does not hold a grudge against them – even though he was often seen as a lightning rod for criticism by the fan base. “My time in Ottawa was fond and I know a lot of people are upset," Spezza said. "I would have loved to have the storybook career, where you spend your whole life in one city and play for one team, but thats part of the hard decision we had to make. This didnt just happen overnight and I woke up one morning and said ‘I want to leave. There was a lot of thought put into this.” Philadelphia Phillies Jerseys . Its been two seasons in one for both parties and neither will look back on the first 18 games fondly. "I think I took the fall for a lot of things," said Gay, reflecting on his short time in Toronto ahead of Wednesdays game against his former club. Chuck Klein Jersey . - All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked spry enough in pregame warmups Sunday for Green Bays divisional playoff game against Dallas. http://www.baseballphilliesofficial.com/tug-mcgraw-jersey-c-29/ . Snedekers best result so far this year is a tie for eighth place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He sits 113th in FedEx Cup standings and has dropped to 31st in world rankings — not the results expected from a player ranked fourth in the world only two years ago.ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Opening their season against a perennial playoff performer, the Toronto Blue Jays head into 2014 facing a Tampa Bay Rays team that has enjoyed the type of success the Jays are looking to duplicate. The division rivals are set to face each other Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field, with David Price and R.A. Dickey taking the mound in a matchup of 2012 Cy Young Award winners. The Rays are coming off a year in which they won 92 games and made the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons. The Blue Jays would just as soon forget 2013, when they battled injuries and finished in last place after being a popular preseason pick to contend for a championship. Toronto failed to bolster its starting pitching this winter and returns with essentially the same lineup as a year ago, yet Dickey thinks the results will be better. "I think the heartbeat is a lot different this year. I think, one, were very comfortable. If I had a word to describe what (spring training) has been, its been comfortable. Guys really know that this is a big year for us collectively," said Dickey, who was 14-13 with a 4.21 ERA last season. "Were kind of getting a mulligan this year," the knuckleballer added. "Last year, a lot of things went wrong. This year, were pretty much all healthy. ... Were in a much different place." Only the Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies have earned as many post-season berths as the Rays over the past six seasons. And after hiking one of baseballs lowest payrolls above $80 million to keep most of last years roster intact, Tampa Bay anticipates another strong run. Price was 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA in 2013 after winning AL Cy Young honours two years ago, but he went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts following the first stint of his career on the disabled list. The 28-year-old lefty was the subject of trade speculation much of the winter before agreeing to a $14 million, one-year contract to continue anchoring one of the ALs strongest rotations. The Rays, often overshadowed in the AL East by the big-spending Yankees and Red Sox, dont shy away from taking about how good they believe they cann be. Dave Cash Jersey. "To be honest with you, I thought last year we had more expectations going into the season than we do this year — only because the Red Sox won the World Series and the Yankees have made some pretty big acquisitions. So, that kind of puts us in the shadows again," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "There are a lot of expectations from within this team," he added. "But from an overall perspective, well probably be picked down the ladder a little bit more this year ... which is perfectly fine with me because I think weve proven time in and time out that if you believe the right things and play the right way, then the rest will take care of itself." Toronto pursued free agent Ervin Santana in hopes of improving its rotation, but the right-hander wound up signing with Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays offence has a chance to be potent if a lineup featuring Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and off-season acquisition Dioner Navarro can stay healthy. Dickey, who had a solid spring, hopes to revert to the form that helped him capture the NL Cy Young Award with the Mets two years ago. "I feel prepared," Dickey said. "I feel confident." Besides not trading Price, the Rays re-signed first baseman James Loney, acquired free-agent closer Grant Balfour and traded for catcher Ryan Hanigan, reliever Heath Bell and utilityman Logan Forsythe. Longoria is confident the manoeuvring has made the Rays better. Still, he stops short of predicting another playoff berth. "Even when we were the favourites, I would say maybe we are on paper," the three-time All-Star said. "We should have that underdog mentality." The teams set their rosters Sunday, with the Rays placing injured pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Juan Carlos Oviedo and shortstop Tim Beckham on the 15-day disabled list. The Blue Jays put closer Casey Janssen on the DL due to a strain in his left abdominal area and lower back. Backup catcher Erik Kratz was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. 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