Friday, August 21, 2009
Heatley Presser: My Take
What do I think of Dany Heatley's explanations for wanting out of Ottawa?
I guess I believe him.
A lot of people seem predictably angry that he didn't drop a bombshell such as not getting along with teammates or hating the city or his girlfriend hating the city or something sleazy and headline grabbing. They claim that he must be hiding something unsavoury.
Sometimes the truth is boring.
I believe Heatley when he says it's purely a hockey decision. I believe his claims and his teammates claims that he is a good guy and a positive presence in the locker room. Steve Yzerman wouldn't have chosen him to represent Canada in the Olympics if that wasn't the case. Heatley has always served Hockey Canada with pride and distinction.
I believe his claims that he didn't leak the trade request and that he's genuinely upset at the way it has played out in the public.
To me, this is just another case of a hockey player being unhappy with his role on a team and asking for a trade. It happens all the time in the NHL, much more than people realize.
If Heatley says he wants a bigger role on the Senators than Cory Clouston is willing to give him, then it makes sense that he asked for a trade. And it would have even made sense if GM Bryan Murray was the one to initiate the trade talk. There's no sense in having a franchise player and a head coach pulling in two different directions.
Everyone will take the coach's side no matter what the truth is because fans just don't like rich hockey players, plain and simple. Most journalists don't either.
But the reality is never as black and white as it seems. No one can claim to be 100 percent right in a situation like this. But the Senators made a commitment to Cory Clouston (who has proven to be successful at his job) and they have to back him up, even if it costs them one of the league's only consistent 50 goal scorers.
I don't think Heatley's decision to ask for a trade was a good one, but who am I to pretend to know what goes on in Heatley's life and to think that I know what's right for him.
I just don't see any hidden drama here. Heatley has always been a quality player and a quality individual, but business is business.
Heatley is trying to do what is best for his career, as he sees it. Whether you like it or not doesn't really make a difference. The NHL runs on the same principles that our society does - a regulated free market where individuals can largely choose the way and the location where they make their living.
You can try and pretend that your favourite hockey players will play for free and in your city simply for the love of the game, but you'd be living in a fantasy land.
I don't agree with Heatley but I'm not going to froth at the mouth with endless fury over what is an entirely reasonable and common practice of asking for a trade due to unhappiness.
You can. I won't.
I have better things to worry about. Don't you?