September 04, 2009
There have been plenty of Ottawa Senators players that have gone on the record about Dany Heatley(notes) this summer, and usually it's been the wishy-washy stuff about making it work if he ends up staying, like what Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno peddled yesterday.
Heatley's former linemate Daniel Alfredsson(notes) made the same sorts of statements today about "addressing the situation" and "once he's on the ice, he's going to do his best." But he also added something rather assertive, at least coming from a team captain: That working out a trade would be the best option for all involved.
"Obviously, it would be the best scenario for everybody. But if it were that easy, something would have already been done. We're ready for whatever happens and make something good out of it."
Compared to his earlier comments on the situation, that's harsh. No more dancing around it: The captain of the team doesn't want Heatley back in his locker room. Sure, they can play nice if they have to, but if you needed a clearer indication that relationships and trusts have been shattered by Heatley's trade demand, you'll find none clearer.
Two other Heatley related items for your perusal. First is Erin Nicks on potentially removing Heatley's alternate captain status should he return, which Alfredsson addressed today as well. As usual, she kills it over on The Universal Cynic:
This is more about the idea of ripping a symbolic leadership symbol from Dany Heatley, and how big it truly is in the grand scheme of things. Will he feel naked without the "A"? Does anyone truly think it will make a difference in his play or the way he views the Senators? Basically it's akin to a 30-second timeout. In my opinion, I think he'll barely notice. It's more to placate the fans than anything else, because they put so much stock into which players wear the letters.
But the must-read today on Heatley comes from former NHLer Ray Ferraro, who's staunchly in his former teammate's corner.
Please recall Ferraro played with Heatley in 2001-02 with the Atlanta Thrashers, right before Chicken Parm's last stop with the St. Louis Blues. He's got 18 seasons of NHL hockey to his credit, and he tells Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period that Heatley's being treated unfairly during this ordeal:
"Let me tell you something, when I was in Atlanta, I roomed with Dany. Anyone who says he's a bad guy is full of (crap)," Ferraro said. "You had a situation where he signed a big deal and had what I call, 'The Summer of Dany.' He didn't work out, went to baseball games and came back a step out of shape. But you're talking about a talent who was out of shape and still scored 36 goals last year.
"Two years go, he scored 50 goals and how many players scored 50 in the league last year? Two? Does he have more growing up to do? Of course he does. If he winds up staying in Ottawa, he's going to have to go to the team and have a sit down with them to make things right. He's going to have to say that although he's asked been traded, he's ready to give 100%."
Heatley's request to be traded, though made earlier than June, was made public during the Stanley Cup Finals. "The worst thing about the off season situation is that it went public," Ferraro said. "People don't realize that players ask for trades all the time but the demands never go public and that was unfortunate. But you're talking about a one-shot scorer, and how many of those are in the league."
Not many, and that's why Heatley hasn't been ostracized by the Senators publicly. He's a special player; the question is whether Ottawa's players can stomach his justifications and the scrutiny his actions have brought on.
But again: It's management that made this bed with a no-trade clause whose power it didn't end up respecting.