Friday, August 21, 2009

Dany is a "team guy"

So Dany Heatley has finally broken his silence.
We know a bit more, but not much more. Let’s run through some of the answers.

He wants a trade primarily because he believes he should be an integral part of the team and he feels his role has diminished.

He still wants a trade but will show up at Senators training camp and fulfill his contract if he is not traded before camp.

He says he has nothing against Ottawa or Senators fans and that this is a straight hockey issue and not a life issue like his departure from Atlanta.

He claims neither he nor his camp released the information to the public and he has not spoken until now because he didn’t want to make it more of a circus. Dany says these things are a process and he didn’t want to disrupt that.

Dany says he has nothing against Edmonton but turned the trade down because it was and is the only option presented to him. He wants multiple options to choose from. Heatley says he knows there are teams out there which are interested.

The entire conference call lasted just under 17 minutes and was cut off before all questions had been answered after Heatley’s agent Stacey McAlpine said Heatley had another media event to attend.

That one was a bit surprising since he hasn’t spoke in 3 months and now has 2 media events planned so tightly together he can’t fully complete one before heading to the other?

There were a few questions which were partially answered but not fully. That’s where the media training really helps in deflecting and sliding on questions. One late question from the Sun’s Don Brennan was interesting. Don asked if Heatley will turn in his “A” if he is a Senator to start camp. Heatley’s only answer was “I’ll be at camp ready to go”.

I guess he still wants a leadership role on this team even though he doesn’t want to be on this team.

Another puzzler is this “diminished role” issue at the centre of it all. In Edmonton he would have been their best and most important player the day he arrived. He would have been far more “integral” there than almost anywhere else with the ice time and situational ice time he desires, but he said no.

Although not said, I believe Dany wants to be a stand alone superstar but he wants that role in a cool city. New York or Los Angeles where there is more glitz, more trendy places to spend his millions and a greater ability to be anonymous when the spotlight starts to burn. If this was a straight hockey situation as he says, then why should the location of a trade matter if it means the criteria of him being an “integral” player is met?

For me the most telling questions and answers were about character and his battered public image. Dany says he doesn’t worry about questions about his character. When asked about being selfish he said you can ask anyone he has played for or with and they will tell you he’s a team guy.

I don’t believe Dany fully understands that one of the major reasons Bryan Murray can’t make a trade is because too many people in the NHL think he is selfish, has character problems and in fact is not a good team guy because he asked to leave his last 2 teams. Ron Hextall from the LA Kings said red flags went up for them as an organization because Heatley apparently had problems with his coach in Atlanta, Craig Hartsburg and now Corey Clouston. Leaders look for answers others look for exits and Dany has been too quick to look for his.

I think today’s conference call didn’t do much to help a GM feel better about making a possible deal for Heatley because the questions that dogged him during his silence were not answered today. Dany is about Dany no matter how well he gets along with his team mates.

Everyone I have talked to on the team echoes Dany’s claim. They like him and he’s a good team mate. But simply not hating a team mate doesn’t make them a good team guy. Being a team guy means putting your team mates and your club ahead of yourself. That has not been the case for Dany and it appears he is confused about what constitutes a good team guy.

Dany says he knows there are teams out there that are interested. Sure they are if they can get him for the value of a journeyman and not the value of a 50 goal scorer. That doesn’t make a trade any more feasible for Murray.

I may be wrong but my guess is that Dany Heatley will start the season as a Senator and may be in Ottawa for longer than he hopes. Today’s media conference proves there is a great divide between what Dany believes the reasons are that a trade hasn’t happened yet and the real reasons a trade hasn’t happened yet.

The problem is not the coach or an over demanding GM or a cautious business environment in the NHL. The only reason nobody has stepped to the plate to snag a 50 goal scorer is that there are too many GM’s who fear he will hurt their team more than his goals will help their team. Biggest of all the concerns are, giving away prospects, players and draft picks for a player who may walk out on his 3rd team and you are the GM of team #3.

See you at the rink.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with Heatley--a lot of talent there, but perhaps too much of a head case for a franchise to take on? Or too steep in this era?

I speculated that New Jersey would be the team to go out and get him, and maybe I should back away from that. I liked the selection of NJ because there are strong vets on that team, Heatley would be forced to adopt to their system, not the other way around, and there's no way Heatley wins any kind of grudge match against Jacques Lemaire. You put Heatley in there with Langenbrunner, Elias, Rolston and Shanahan, and then tell me how he gets away with any "character" issues with those older guys.

Then again, perhaps NJ doesn't want to pay the price or put up with the headache. They still look good without him. With him, they could be pretty formidable.