The Dany Heatley trade request, ensuing silence, and meaningless press conference have been discussed almost ad nauseum this off-season, and I'm reticent about adding yet another few kilbytes to the situation. But reading, watching, and listening to people discuss the whole fiasco, I'm left with plenty of questions to ask Heatley.
First off, there are Heatley's most recent comments that there is more to his trade request than has been made public. During Team Canada's olympic training camp, the winger discussed how he felt he'd been unfairly treated, and that people don't yet know the story. From The Sporting News:
Heatley has taken a beating, first for the trade request and later for his refusal to waive his no-trade clause for the Edmonton Oilers. He said the time will come later for him to tell the whole story."I don't want to get into it -- when it's all said and done, that time will come," he said, suggesting there's more to the story than outsiders know. "I'm not going to talk about Ottawa -- that's as far as I'll go."
Which doesn't say anything, really. That's not to say it's not true; plenty of people have postulated that there must be more to this story; the sheer egotism of a player demanding a trade purely because he's been demoted from a supporter on the first powerplay unit to the leader of the second seems completely unbelievable. But, if he's said he'll play in Ottawa if he's not traded, how irreperable can this problem really be?
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To judge by his actions, playing in Ottawa is the ninth-best thing he could do this season. If he's handed in a list of eight teams he'd be willing to play for if a trade was possible, we can then assume that there are only eight teams he would rather play for than the Senators. This morning , Team 1200's TGOR morning show, Jim Jerome asked a pressing question: If this as-yet-undisclosed detail about his trade request is so irreconcilable, how could he possibly consider coming back to Ottawa? If it's such a big deal, why hasn't he revealed details of it, to save himself untold criticism from fans and the media? If it's a personal issue which he'd rather not disclose, why does he not simply say, "It's personal," and leave it at that; no respected media member would be able to push him harder for more details, because it would cross the professional threshold. All he's said so far is that it's completely a hockey decision, and he doesn't like his lot in Ottawa--at least not as much as he'd like it in eight other NHL cities.
The other big question I have for Heatley is why he refused to go to Edmonton. He said it's due to a lack of options, and that he wasn't ready to make that commitment. He's said it's nothing against Edmonton. I seriously doubt the legitimacy of that statement, though; it seems Heatley wasn't looking for more options, he was simply looking for different options.
Today on Sportsnet, Gene Principe said it best:
Heatley also mentioned that he had only one option. To be fair to Heatley, Edmonton wasn't on his original list of teams he wanted to be traded to.
So let me ask you this: if his "only option" was San Jose, would he have taken it?
Or if the only option was the New York Rangers, would he have taken it?
As Principe said, of course he would have taken it. This is simply a disingenuine cop-out for Heatley, as were most of the "answers" he's provided about this entire situation.
I also want to just repeat this quote from Heatley in the Ottawa Sun, and shake my head:
"I think anyone out here including myself is willing to play any role," insisted Heatley after skating on a line with Mike Richards and Brenden Morrow. "On (Canadian) teams throughout world championships, I’ve killed penalties and done different things at times."
I'm not going to resort to the immature personal attacks the likes of Don "Heatley to the Sharks" Brennan (more than once) and Terry Jones have mounted against Heatley. As immature and unprofessional as their comments might be, though, it's probably a feeling many Ottawa Senators fans share.
No matter what happens, I'll still be a Senators fan when all is said and done. Even if Heatley's on the team, I'll cheer when he scores, but it'll take a lot to get me cheering for Heatley himself again.