Sunday, September 13, 2009

Good Bye Dany

It’s off to San Jose for the Heater. Let life begin again in Ottawa.
The deal was about as good as Bryan Murray was going to get with the pressures he was under and the circumstance created by this becoming public so long ago.

Dany Heatley will go to the Sharks and will score 50 again playing with Joe Thornton. The Sharks will again win the Presidents trophy and may still have the playoff troubles which have plagued them. In the end despite what you might think of Heatley’s personal integrity, he did get what he wanted. The players almost always do. Thankfully the vast majority do care, but some players could care less that the average working man ends up having a less than average opinion about the character of the player after all is said and done.

Dany made it vividly clear in his departure media conference when he said “I don’t think I did anything wrong asking for a trade. I had my reasons for it and if people think differently of me, that’s fine. I believe I did nothing wrong and it’s time to move on. It’s a sad day for me to leave this place, I had a great four years here, but I felt it was best for me to move on.”

Dany is correct. He didn’t break any rules or laws except those of good taste, loyalty and team sacrifice. Heatley has proven over his career that Dany is about Dany. He wants very much to be a captain and a leader but appearantly has no clue what qualities are required for those roles.

A very telling perspective came from Jason Spezza. A good friend of Heatley’s who tried to get him to change his mind for the good of the team but could not. He wished his friend well and said they remain friends. Spezza’s one comment told the story. “"He wanted out and I wanted what's best for our club”. That is so true. Spezza’s stock has gone up dramatically in many peoples books with that team first attitude. It goes back to something I said in an earlier post. There is a difference between being a good “team mate” and being a good “team guy”. I believe Dany thinks they are the same.

A good team mate lends you 10 bucks when you need it, laughs at your jokes, keeps your secrets, attends all the parties and is a friend to all on the team. By all accounts Dany was all of that. A “team guy” puts the team ahead of himself and will sacrifice his personal stats for team wins. Dany is foreign to that thought.

The other sub-story in all this is the information leak which started it all. Both sides have claimed the leak did not come from them. The veracity of the claims by the Heatley camp are seriously in doubt since TSN had the story of the trade less than 2 minutes after it happened. Bryan Murray had not yet even walked down the hall to the awaiting media to announce it when he received an email from a member of the media who claimed to know the deal was done. Certain members of the media were in electronic contact with Heatley’s representation while the negotiation was actually going on. Hard to find much integrity there.

In conclusion, the Senators will have a tough time scoring as many goals because the truth is it is impossible to replace a 50 goal scorer in today’s NHL. But it may be a better, more balanced team now.

At the very least, players on this team and others around the league may have learned a valuable lesson in public relations and how not to behave unless completely destroying your connection with the average working fan is your ultimate goal.

See you at the rink.