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Sean Leahy

NHLPA chief: Heatley's a victim, would seriously consider Oilers

Sean Leahy
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It's been three weeks since Dany Heatley(notes) requested a trade from the Ottawa Senators. It's also been three weeks for Edmonton Oilers fans wondering if the talented forward will eventually end up on their club for next season -- not to mention if Ladislav Smid(notes), Dustin Penner(notes) and Andrew Cogliano(notes) would be departing.

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Having been silent since Heatley situation arose, National Hockey League Players Association Executive Director Paul Kelly spoke with Dan Tencer of Edmonton's 630 CHED Wednesday night. (Listen to the interview here) In their discussion, Kelly identifies Heatley as a "victim" in the whole situation; one who was given a raw deal thanks to the leaked news about the trade request:

"While it is true that he requested a trade, it was not Dany Heatley or his agent that made that fact public. I think Dany's been unfairly treated by the media and by the (Senators) organization."

How Kelly can't see the ire in Bryan Murray and the Senators organization's reasoning is beyond me. Heatley cashed that $4 million roster bonus he was owed on July 1 after turning down a deal not long after asking to leave the club. Murray should be under no pressure to move Heatley after spending that kind of dough.

Kelly continued:

"I think the day will come that he'll have his opportunity to clarify some of these things. Where it will be, nobody really knows."

Could be in Ottawa or Edmonton or anywhere else, but if Heatley wants to stop the never-ending string of bad publicity he's been getting since the beginning of the month, he should come out of hiding from his Lake Okanagan home and tell the hockey world his thought process at the current moment -- answering the numerous questions fans and Murray and Oilers are wondering about.

"I know that Dany doesn't harbour any ill will towards Edmonton and, in fact, would seriously consider playing for the Edmonton Oilers."

Unless he's talked with Mrs. Pronger, it's tough to know what ill will Heatley would have against the city of Edmonton; but if he's really considering playing for the Oilers, what's the hold up? Why the gag on the player himself speaking to the media? Why is every request shuffled off to his agent?

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal is not holding out any hope about Heatley's supposed possible preference on playing for the Oilers:

Kelly forgot to add: "would seriously consider playing in Edmonton in 2017, when he's washed up and looking for one more big pay day."

Of course, if Heatley ever had any inclination of ever playing in Edmonton next season, he would be here right now. Or, more precisely, he would have been here three weeks ago.

But he never did have such an inclination, did he?

Staples makes a good point about the length of time this situation has dragged out. Does it take three weeks for player who requested a trade to decide if he's okay with a proposed deal?

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