July 14, 2009
The Ottawa Senators have been orchestrating a stellar full-court press on Disgruntled Dany Heatley(notes) lately, with owner Eugene Melnyk telling anyone who will listen that Heatley could still return to the team with some the resolution of "countless issues" and mending of fences.
He's also done his best to paint Heatley as a misguided soul being fed bad advice from his inner circle.
In essence, Melnyk is putting it out there that Heatley would be welcomed back to the Senators, leaving the winger to ponder that awkward option when considering the still-simmering trade proposal from the Edmonton Oilers.
Sources indicated yesterday that while Heatley refused to waive his no-movement clause on June 30 and agree to a deal that would have sent him to the Oilers, he has not "officially" rejected Edmonton as a destination.
But an NHL source indicated yesterday the Oilers' patience is wearing thin to have Heatley agree to a deal and they could give up and move on perhaps as early as today.
At this point, the Oilers appear to be the only viable trade option. With Edmonton out of the picture, returning to Ottawa and an ugly reception from fans could be the Heatley camp's only option.
Ugly reception from the fans? How about from the players?
Yet that's what Alfie is claiming in the Ottawa Citizen today, saying he was caught by surprise and has yet to find out what caused Heatley to request a trade.
What was his reaction as captain of the Senators? "It's so surprising. I thought we were a team that had kind of turned things around and were going in the right direction. We underachieved all year...and we could see a lot of positive signs going forward -- maybe try and reach the playoffs next season and go far in the playoffs. Dany, obviously, was a huge part of our success before and I thought would be going foward as well."
Alfredsson says it will be easier for players to welcome Heatley back than it will be for media and fans.
"We'll see what happens. There are decisions to be made on both sides, obviously. If Dany would come back, which obviously is a possibility, we would address the issues. If he wants to be part of the team we'll definitely work something out. But it's in his hands and he's going to have to make that decision."
In the end, his decision should be to leave. He's poisoned the well in Ottawa with his behavior, and he'll hear about it every time he slumps or the team slumps.
But what the Senators have done is effectively take control from a guy with a no-trade clause. Heatley wants other suitors; the Senators like what the Oilers have on the table and are steadfast in the mindset that they aren't letting Heater go for a lowball offer before camp -- unless it's just posturing in the media, which is possible.
Can Dany Heatley return to Ottawa after this ordeal? It's one of the questions of the summer.