I have a contract. I'm going to honour that contract. If I'm still a Senator at training camp time I'll be there ready to go. I'm a hockey player and I'm going to play to the best of my abilities wherever I am. But at the same time, I think we know there's other teams out there that are interested and you know hopefully something can be done. ~ Dany Heatley
When it was announced that Dany Heatley was going to hold a press conference prior to the Team Canada development camp, I expected a repeat of his 2007 Stanley Cup Final performance. So when Dany's press conference nosedived, I wasn't surprised at all.
Considering the circumstances and the possibility that he very well could find himself back in an Ottawa Senators uniform, Dany didn't come off as contrite or regretful. Instead, he blamed the entire situation on the fact that his trade request became public knowledge and blew an ideal opportunity to use this public relations mechanism as a way to salvage a reputation that's taken a beating over the past two months.
Over the course of fifteen minutes, Dany reaffirmed what we already knew.
- He has a vague on-ice reason for wanting out of Ottawa.
- Edmonton was never going to happen. He wants more options.
- Despite what he thinks the guys think of him, he's not a team player. He's perturbed that team success correlated with reduced playing time for himself.
Most importantly, he also strengthened Bryan Murray's leverage in trade negotiations. By admitting that he'll return to camp, Ottawa can be in a fortunate situation here. Barring injury and provided that he can work cohesively under Clouston, a motivated and inspired Heatley should be able to produce numbers that can mirror his career norms. So that's why as Sens fans, we should consider ourselves lucky that 2010 is an Olympic year. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see Dany follow in the footsteps of Alexei Yashin and attempt to holdout. But because of the baggage that Dany's carrying, he not only has to prove himself to the Team Canada brass, he'll have to play his way off the Ottawa Senators and make the other 29 GMs around the League forget the fact that he's a self-absorbed prick.
Dany might be "ready to go" but is he ready for the hometown reaction? Through his comments yesterday, he acknowledged that his trade request still stands and that even though he'll come to camp, he doesn't want to play in Ottawa if there are other alternatives out there. He's become nothing more than a mercenary -- playing for his own material gain. He doesn't give two shits about that crest on the front of his jersey.
That's why it'll be interesting to see how the fans handle his return. Of course it'd be easier for Dany to play and stay focused on hockey had his trade request not been made public knowledge. Now, when he returns to camp, he'll have to interact and co-exist with the fans and our local douchebag media. Good luck with that. If you needed to know how much the local media had disdain for Heatley, look no further than the Sun's Don Brennan. Just one day after he pulled that unprofessional stunt and embarrassed himself on public radio, he's penned an article outlining how he’ll be sure to ask him each day if he's happy with the ice time he's getting, and if there’s anything else he'd want Clouston to be doing differently. Assuming that Heatley's not dealt, the Brennan v. Heatley sub-plot to this upcoming season should be hilarious to watch unfold. Think Ozzie Guillen versus Jay Mariotti proportions. (Maybe that's what Brennan's going for?)
Perhaps it's better that we as fans handle Dany like he's treating the organization. He's just an investment that Bryan Murray can flip when his value is at its highest.