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.