Breaking up is always tough. You try to remember the good times. The 50 goals. The 2007 Cup final. But the fact is, Dany Heatley wants out of this relationship. It’s not you, Sens fan. It’s him. He hopes you can still be friends.
Heatley has asked the Senators to trade him, apparently unable to overcome irreconcilable differences with new coach Cory Clouston. At the heart of the matter: Clouston thinks Heatley is too one dimensional. Now, granted, Heatley is very good at that one dimension, putting the puck into the net as well as anyone. But as the Detroit Red Wings are showing us again this year, you need a little bit more than slick one timers to win titles.
Clouston demands hard work and forechecking, not constant gliding with your stick blade above your head. Heatley demands you leave him alone and let him do his thing. Don’t try to change him.
I think this is all excellent news. I spoke this week with a source who has spent a good deal of time in that room and says there are few teams in the NHL in need of a shake up more than the Ottawa Senators. And unfortunately, the source said, the shake up clearly has to be within the core of their best players. It would be an insanely tough decision to move out Heatley or Jason Spezza. Now there is no decision to make. Healtey has made it for them. Problem solved.
Heatley has handcuffed Bryan Murray, who could fetch more for a guy who wants to be in Ottawa than one who doesn’t. The classic yard sale mentality. Murray is in spin mode today, saying Heatley isn’t going anywhere. But rest assured, he will not turn down the Heat. Number 15 has played his final game here.
The move will creates a void but, if Murray plays his cards right, it also creates tremendous opportunity. The Sens have had great success sending disgruntled star forwards to Long Island. The Isles do have something fairly valuable in this month’s draft. John Tavares and Josh Bailey would certainly ease the sting of losing Heatley. Or picture Viktor Hedman walking into Scotiabank Place this summer laughing alongside his Swedish blue line partner Erik Karlsson. Then you have about 6 million dollars freed up to go shopping with this summer.
The mind swims with possibility.
As for Heatley, I believe his Olympic chances have slipped from slam dunk to merely probable. Steve Yzerman is now well educated with Detroit’s style of doing things. It works pretty nicely. Heatley’s behaviour is in no way the Detroit way.