Summer Fill: A conversation with Matchsticks & Gasoline, part deux

Yesterday you may have seen the questions I posted to Kent from Matchsticks & Gasoline, all about the Calgary Flames. Now here's the questions he sent my way, as well as my best attempts at response:

1.) Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first: What's the feeling about Dany Heatley in Ottawa these days? If he ends up having to play for the club, will he be met with boos and cat calls every home game?

What's something that's a little better than suicidal, but a little worse than really angry? I'd say most people are feeling resigned with the situation; we want something to happen, but we know there's nothing we can do about it. A lot of people don't want a player who doesn't want to be here return, but we also don't want to get hosed on the deal. Heatley wouldn't be the first Senator to return after pissing fans off big time (see: Alexei Yashin), so while Heatley'd get a cool reception at first, that would probably change quickly once the goals started going in.

2.) If Heatley were to get traded, what does your ideal return look like? Alternatively, what's the most likely return going to be?

I'd say the ideal return will look a lot like what we end up getting, because if GM Bryan Murray wanted to take a lesser return, he could already have done so. The admitted needs of the Senators are two top-six forwards, and an elite puck-moving defenceman. Rumoured offers have included, for the most part, two top-six forwards, a decent prospect, and a draft pick, and that's what I'd like to see coming back to Ottawa. The Edmonton deal would have worked out quite well, but... well... whatever.

3.) Has Murray handled the Heatley issue well in your estimation?

Depends who you ask, but I think he's done alright in an awful situation. He's tried as hard as possible to wrest the upper hand in this position from Heatley, and in the end didn't let Heatley's reported "list of acceptable destinations" dictate his options. Heatley, obviously, still has the opportunity to dictate whether or not he accepts, but it's going to be Murray's pick for the best deal or Ottawa. Even if Heatley chooses Ottawa, it's not like he's going to be lazy; he's got to impress to make the Olympic Squad. If he plays well and Ottawa still doesn't look good, he'd be a hell of a deadline-day pickup for any team getting set.

4.) Murray's most significant signing this summer was Alexei Kovalev. From the angle out West, $5M for a 36 year old guy who gets his points on the power play and doesn't play much in the way of defense seems kind of steep. What do you think of the signing?

Definitely wasn't a discount, of that I agree. Kovalev certainly has a reputation of someone who can become disinterested, but he proved at points last year that he can still score, too. Although he's not getting any younger, the hope is obviously that he can energize the top line or lead the second line, and give some serious lethality to the powerplay.

5.) It's been a precipitous fall from grace for a team that made the finals a couple of years ago. Are fans getting restless or is optimism returning?

Off-ice problems have been such a huge part of the Senators' precipitous fall, as you've called it, that I think there are still optimistic fans hoping this team can still make some noise in the league. People are excited to see what new goaltender Pascal Leclaire might be able to do, and the farm team has been seriously recharged--especially on defence, with Erik Karlsson, Jared Cowan, and Patrick Wiercioch setting up a heck of a defence corps within five years.
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