Monday, August 31, 2009

Ferraro on Heater...Wishing for Couture...Donovan On Way Out?

Some pretty intense but supportive words from TV personality and ex-NHL star Ray Ferraro on Dany Heatley, courtesy of L.A. Kings blogger Matthew Barry. Ferraro played with Heatley in Atlanta:

“First of all, not only have I been in the (dressing) room, I’ve roomed with Dany. I know him really well and the people that are talking that he’s toxic don’t know (expletive)! They don’t know anything about him …

There’s all kinds of rumors about Dany off the ice. … Everybody does whatever research they do but I’ve known Dany for over ten years now. He had to mature. Absolutely he did and he’d be the first guy to tell you that he had to mature. …He had a terrible year last year because he wasn’t in shape. He signed a 50 million dollar contract in the summer and he kind of went on the “Summer of Dany” I called it. He had a lot of fun and he was going to ballgames and he was a half a
step out of shape when he got to camp and so he had a terrible year….

If Dany has to go back to Ottawa I’m sure he’s going to have to have a meeting with the guys. He’s going to have to mend the fence. But once the fence is mended and game one starts, he’ll be fine.”

Ferraro’s statement, while not absolving Heatley for having a bad year, seems to follow the pattern of every teammate or ex-teammate who all categorically claim Heater is a good guy in the dressing room and a good person. So why the massive schism of opinion between Heatley's teammates and the media (which represents the fans)?

If last off-season was the "Summer of Dany" ala George Castanza, what would you call this summer?

I don't care what anyone says - Alexei Yashin was worse. Much, much worse.


If there is a deal to be had for Heatley in San Jose, you’d have to hope that Bryan Murray is insisting on Milan Michalek and Logan Couture in any deal. While that sort of trade would put San Jose over the cap, it might be worth it for them to find some savings elsewhere to bring on-board a 50 goal scorer.

Michalek scored only 23 goals last year and figures to max out somewhere in the mid-30’s (and that's not a bad thing). Heatley would be a big upgrade on that left wing for a team that is going for the Cup right now. Couture would be hard to give up but that’s the price you have to pay for 50 goal scorers.

For the Senators, Michalek is ideal because he is signed long-term for a reasonable salary (5 years with a 4.3 million cap hit) and will be a solid, if not spectacular offensive player with the upside of a speedy power forward. Couture could be Ottawa’s number one centre in 5 years when Jason Spezza may be long gone.

The deal seems fair (even if it puts San Jose in temporary cap-trouble) but rarely are deals as easy to pull off as they are on paper.


Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Lightning look like a threat again. With the additions of Victor Hedman, Alex Tanguay and Mattias Ohlund, and a full season under coach Rick Tocchet, the Lightning could be a top 5 team in the conference despite their ongoing ownership saga.

Another thing they have going for them? Lecavalier is only 29 years old.

It’s hard to believe he’s that young but you could say his best years could still be ahead of him. And most of those years will be with a blossoming Steve Stamkos. Their power-play could be deadly. The additions of Ohlund and Hedman will also allow the much (but unfairly) maligned Andrej Meszaros to play more of a supportive role rather than play almost 25 minutes a night like he did last season. And Mesz is only 23 as well. The future looks bright.

The one negative I saw over the summer was the deal that saw Evgeny Artyukhin go to Anaheim for Drew Miller. That is an absolute steal for the Ducks as Artyukhin is one of the most feared hitters in the game today. Miller is a decent two-way player but Artyukhin is one of a kind, even if his offense is not very lethal. I think the deal was a big mistake for the Bolts – but not enough to derail their comeback season.


Not to jump the gun, but the Senators have a very good opportunity to get off to a quick start in the early going of October.

The first four teams they face are the Rangers, the Leafs, the Islanders and the Thrashers.

Sure, the Rangers have Marian Gaborik and his groin for at least one game, the Leafs are now the toughest team in the league, the Islanders have, well, a 19 year old John Tavares and the Thrashers actually have a legitimately good defense core this year. But the Senators should be frothing at the mouth to win some games early on after the two brutal seasons and off-seasons they have had to endure recently. With so many people with something to prove (Spezza, Heatley, Kovalev, Leclaire, Shannon, Kelly, Campoli and Lee), a quick start seems to be in the cards.


With Bryan Murray's "fan conference-call" today, he expressed quite a bit of confidence in players such as Zach Smith and Peter Regin.

I hate to say it, but it looks like Shean Donovan is going to find it even harder to get into the lineup this season and could even find himself on waivers right before the season along with Christoph Schubert and Alex Picard.

I'm a huge fan of Donovan, as many of you probably are as well, but there are simply too many forwards on the Senators right now. I don't get the sense that Donovan is one of Cory Clouston's "guys" and that players like Smith and Regin will get first shot at those third and fourth line minutes.

For Donovan's sake, I hope I'm wrong. I think he still has a lot of experience, speed and grit to offer the Senators.


Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your post.

The framework for any deal involving Heatley should be a roster player, a prospect, and a pick. A deal with SJ should include their first rounder, Couture, and either Michalek or Setoguchi. Given Heatley's one of the best scorers in the league, that's a fair deal, in my mind. Whether we actually get that return, I don't know.

Regarding Couture being a future #1 center, I don't know. I've always thought that he'd project to be a #2 guy, but I also thought that Pat Kane would have a tough time, so what do I know.

I like Tampa also. I think that they are poised for a nice rebound. I also think that Mez is poised for a rebound. I'm a believer in his talent.

I'm a little afraid that some guys like Karlsson will be rushed to the NHL. This year is a contract year for Murray, so he'll be under pressure to produce something. If the team is not winning, he'll want to show Melnyk that his draft picks are going to be good players. Guys may be rushed for political reasons.

Finally, as for the schism between the media narrative and the hockey reality, I have a general comment.

Someone visiting from outside of Canada once told me that the media in Canada seems to be slightly right of center while the public seems to be slightly left of center. In other words, the narratives in the media do not do a very good job of reflecting how the public actually feels about things. It's almost like they have some sort of agenda.

In your last post, you talked about people imposing meaningless moral standards on players. People in Ottawa are generally pretty reserved and tend to mind their own business. That's my experience anyway. But yet, certain Sun writers spend an inordinate amount of time talking about players' personal business. The Team 1200, spent an entire show last year talking about whether players should wear toques.

If a recent study from the University of Lethbridge is to be believed, only 41% of the people in Ottawa follow hockey. In other words, close to 60%, or a strong majority, don't even follow the game. Of the 41% who actually follow the game, how many read or comment on blogs or call into talk radio? Of that, how many moralize about personal issues. My pure guess is that we are talking about less than 5% (probably less) of the population who brings up this garbage.

And yet, the media coverage will have you believe that the whole city wants every player to act like Mike Fisher (nothing against Fish, I like him, he's a great guy). Pure garbage.

I liked the uniqueness of Emery, as long as he stops pucks. Spezza can giggle all he wants, as long as he scores. Heatley can ask for a trade every day if he wants, just score while you're wearing the jersey. Kovalev can love Montreal. I love that city too. Just score while you're here.

All that should matter is how a player performs when they are on the ice. Everything else is irrelevant.

The new narrative is "we want players who want to be here". Who cares? What's behind that? Is it "we want players to love us"? If so, I say go make some friends.

Yashin didn't want to be here, and Jacques Martin still found a way to use him effectively. Marshall Johnson still found a way to get more than full value.

We've been through this before. I wish that the media would spare us of all this drama.

PvR said...

Wow, good post followed by a good comment. Too bad it can't be followed by two good comments but we all have our limitations.

Jeremy Milks said...

Anonymous, great points. But I don't really buy the "it's only the people who call in to radio shows and comment on blogs" that have this sort of aggressive resentment towards star players in Ottawa.

Almost everyone I talk to in regular walks of life parrots views of writers like Don Brennan or radio personalities like Lee Versage.

They don't like hockey players as a general principle. You get this everywhere. It's become conventional wisdom that hockey players are somehow "ripping us off" by not bleeding on the ice every game and being puritanical in their private lives.

And not surprisingly, conventional wisdom has no inherent connection to truth.

The media in Canada is certainly right of centre but I think that is much more skewed in the less regulated world of sports writing.

Just look at the last lockout. People took ownership's side without hesitation, regardless of facts and without any real explanation required.

Some people think we will find WMD's in Iraq too.

No way I just referenced Iraq... time to stop writing.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, it's anon @ 8:02pm.

I agree with you that sports coverage is really skewed to the right. You have to wonder if that's why hockey's popularity is declining among teenage fans. The University of Lethbridge study said that from 1992 to 2008 the percentage of teens who closely followed hockey fell from 45% to 35%. I don't know if the whole atmosphere around the game resonates as much with the younger generation.

Stories about growing up on a farm and playing on a pond, who does that anymore? The vast majority of people live in cities now. But, there's a segment of the media that'll have you believe that this is where real hockey players come from.

As far as the Brennanites and the Versageniaks, I'm pretty surprised that many of them even exist. I don't remember seeing too much of this kind of attitude in this town, in my younger days. Maybe it was there, and I just had my head in the sand.

I really believe that the media plays an important role in framing stories. A lot of people let the media do their thinking for them. So, for some people, if the newspaper says Fisher is good and Heatley is bad, that's what they'll believe. They don't have the time, energy, or desire to look at the facts.

I also think that public figures are an easy target for people to project their own frustrations. For example, if my boss is giving me a hard time, Clouston better give Spezza and Heatley a hard time. If I have limited career options, well then Heatley can't go wherever he wants to either.

Sometimes I wonder if the Brennanites and Versageniaks know that we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It's the law of the land. It guarantees personal freedoms. It's what this great country is all about.

It's strange that we send our troops to fight for the freedom of others, while some citizens try and limit the freedoms of our own.

Anonymous said...


I don't know if you get the paper copy of The Hockey News, but if you don't, you need to buy the September 7, 09/Vol.63 No.03(it's on the shelf now and has Tavares on the cover).

You have been published on page 29 under the "Ottawa Reason To Be Fired UP!"

I let a small load out in my pants when I saw it!

Ryan Hy's

Canucnik said...


I just spoke to a Red Chinese Wildlife Biologist, who had to supply Opium to his bearers to get any production out of them and he says: "As long as Dany scores and we are paying him, Heatley belongs to us...keep him on the mountain!"

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to call Google and get them to add a new language to their translate tool. They've got every language you can think of except Canucnik.

When they add that, I'll just have to copy and paste the comment into the form, then hit translate to English.

As it stands, I spend five minutes staring at the comment while trying to understand what's just been written.