by Mike Chen on 08/21/09 at 03:24 PM ET
Here’s what Dany Heatley’s saying about his situation to the media today:
“When I signed in Ottawa two years ago, I felt it was to be an integral part of the team,” Heatley said. “Over the last two years and more recently over the past year, I feel my role was diminished. This past season, it diminished a lot more.”
But in Bizarro world, things could played out much differently. Come trip with me across space-time thanks to a drop of red matter, and let’s peak in on a very respectful conversation between Bizarro Heatley, Bizarro Cory Clouston, and Bizarro Bryan Murray.
Murray: Dany, Cory, I wanted you guys to meet to discuss the situation. Dany, you’re one of our most talented players. Cory, you’re our coach. We all want the same thing, so let’s make this work. Dany?
Heatley: I signed here to be an integral part of the team. I’ve felt like my role’s been diminished, yet I know I have the potential to be a leader on this team, on and off the ice.
Clouston: I know we’re all in this together. If you want to be a team leader here, I’m asking you to do all the little things—lead in practice, backcheck hard, grind in the corners to win the puck, block shots. I’m not getting enough defensive effort out of you. I don’t need you to be a wrecking ball out there but I need to know I can count on you. I think as a coach, I should be able to ask that out of you.
Heatley: We all want the same things. I can do those things you’re asking for but limiting my ice time makes it difficult. Give me a chance, starting in training camp and pre-season, and the first ten or so games. As a player, all I want is a chance. Give me a chance to prove myself.
Murray: Ok, we’re settled. Cory, you give Dany a chance to deliver on those things you want. Dany, you understand that you’re given an opportunity but you have to make the most of it. Oh, and one more thing.
Murray: None of those goes public. That only hurts the team.
Doesn’t seem that difficult, does it?
Ok, so that conversation’s probably not as bombastic as what really happened when Jay Feaster told Vincent Lecavalier and John Tortorella to work things out because neither was getting shipped out. However, had things not spiraled out of control, I think a similar conversation could have salvaged things in Ottawa—if Heatley wanted it that way.
I’m not terribly impressed with Heatley’s explanation so far. From what Cory Clouston said a few months back, Heatley hasn’t exactly tried to be the great compromiser or negotiator, and what Clouston wants—basically, for Heatley to hustle more—is what every coach wants. That tells me that this is Heatley’s semi-polite way of saying that this is a personality issue, that Heatley doesn’t want to have Clouston has his coach, end of story. Yeah, I’m making some assumptions but all the arrows are pointing that way. Where there’s smoke…
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