Spezza signs with Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of Swiss league

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 29: Jason Spezza, seen here doing his best "Darling of the Masses" pose, recently signed on with the Swiss National League's Rapperswil-Jona Lakers. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

According to a release on their team website (and pointed out by The 6th Sens' SteffeG), Ottawa Senators star centre Jason Anthony Rocco Spezza, aka "lebende Legende des Eishockeysports" (translated: living legend of hockey) has signed with the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of Switzerland's top pro hockey league.

Although it hasn't been confirmed by mainstream sources to my knowledge (UPDATE: Confirmed by CBC Ottawa's Dan Seguin), the Lakers certainly seem pretty excited about the signing, billing him (in German, anyway) as a "darling of the masses." From the article, translated (terribly yet hilariously) through Google:

Club spreader hero of the masses

Jason Spezza played for no other NHL team as only for "his" Ottawa Senators - and how: With 243 goals, 424 assists, 667 points in 659 games so there is no equally successful Hockey crack again in the annals of club history. Spezza won three silver and two bronze medals at the World Championships, 2009, even as a celebrated scorer (9 games, 7 goals, 4 assists).

Today Jason Spezza is out of the organization of the Ottawa Senators here to stay and "darling of the masses." 2011/12 he was behind Malkin, Stamkos and Giroux fourth-best scorer in the NHL.

Although I watch as many Swiss league games as I possibly can, I don't know much about the Lakers team. According to Wikipedia, their last (and only) championship was in 1994, and Spezza's new teammates will include former NHLers David Aebischer, Juraj Kolnik, Peter Sejna, Robbie Earl, Michel Riesen, and Derrick Walser.

Spezza's the third Senators player to sign with an overseas club for the duration of the lockout, following Sergei Gonchar and Kaspars Daugavins. He's the first North American-born Senator to do so, though, and only the fifth North American-born NHLer.

Spezza will be playing against Joe Thornton and Rick Nash, who signed in the off-season with HC Davos, and will likely have the opportunity to play in the Spengler Cup if he elects to do so.

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