August 21, 2009
His representation told TSN not to expect anything revelatory or detailed "out of respect to the Ottawa Senators and all involved." Flawed as the justification is, Heatley certainly followed through on the prediction.
From the invaluable play-by-play on James Gordon's live blog for the Ottawa Citizen and Erin Nicks's tweeting-gone-blogging on The Universal Cynic, as well as the terrific job by the NHL getting the audio up, here are a few impressions from the Heatley press conference:
• Heatley said the main reason was that he signed in Ottawa "to be an integral part of the team," and that his role has diminished in the last two years. He was second among forwards in average time on ice overall (20:06) for the Senators last season, third among forwards in power-play time (4:05) but only averaged 22 seconds per game on the penalty kill. So there you go; obviously, he wants to be Chris Kelly(notes).
• Heatley hoped that his trade request wasn't going to go public after he submitted a formal letter to the Senators, which is either a sign of his naïveté or an attempt to play the victim card.
What did he expect when the Ottawa Senators actually pulled the trigger on a deal: Bryan Murray lying through his teeth about trading an all-star because the team "needed a new direction/better chemistry/cap savings" or telling the world it's because Heatley wanted to escape? It was getting out eventually.
• His contention that speaking to the media in, like, June about this would have "created more of a circus" ... god, flies wouldn't even touch that steaming pile.
• His justification for not accepting a trade to the Edmonton Oilers is consistent with what we've assumed: They weren't his choice, he has the no-trade veto, and the Senators tried to make something happen that Heatley never indicated he'd approve. Heatley fancied himself a Ranger or a Shark at the start of this ordeal; probably still does. His contract earns him the right to have options; the Senators, in his eyes, clearly have no such rights beyond the ones he presents them.
And that's why you don't give players no-movement clauses, kids.
• How sick are Oilers fans of hearing "Edmonton's a great hockey city" from players who wouldn't be caught dead there?
• Finally, after a summer of trial balloons from the Senators, Heatley said he'll report to camp if he's not traded before the start of it. "I have a contract ... if I'm still a Senator at training camp time, I'll be ready to go."
Check and mate -- he's wearing the red, the black and the stone-faced Senator next season.
Provided Ottawa can clear the space for him, of course.