by SENShobo on 09/12/09 at 06:24 PM ET
It was the longest summer anyone in Ottawa could remember, for all the wrong reasons, but at the very least there’s closure now.
The names—Heatley, Cheechoo, Michalek—they weren’t the relevant detail of this afternoon’s transaction. That training camp can start with a whole new set of questions instead of the same old tired ones, even only pushed to the back of our minds as they are, that’s what matters.
I believe Chris Phillips said it best, from the Ottawa Citizen,
“I believe you don’t replace a 50-goal scorer with two 25-goal scorers,” [Phillips] said.
How about replacing his 39 goals from last season with the 35 Michalek and Cheechoo managed to generate? No, that doesn’t seem fair dealings either, let alone because Heatley’s shooting percentage has consistently been above 15% over the past four years (15, 18, 16, 17), while Michalek (13, 10, 14, 11) and Cheechoo (8, 10, 15, 18) can’t compare in success or consistency, unless consistent decline is what you’re interested in. Between those two, Alfredsson, and Kovalev, the top four wingers are set, and I feel some minor degree of confidence that Marleau and Thornton make San Jose stronger down the middle than Ottawa with Spezza and Fisher.
To be honest, there is good to say about both Michalek and Cheechoo, on and off the ice, but it’s the troublesome-tale discount that forces them to be put into this comparison, one that is anything but fair or equal. From the Ottawa Citizen,
“I talked to Dany at length yesterday ... he was adamant that he wanted to be moved and we felt, based on that more than anything, that we should get the fair value we could get for him and move on,” Murray said. “When I looked him in the eye and talked to him, I knew the minute he walked out the door that I had to trade him.”
He added he spoke to Michalek, who expressed excitement at taking on a big role with the Senators despite having to leave a California-based first-place squad.
“There was a few things, just ... I’m not going to get into specifics on those things, but there was some personal things that I felt a change was the best thing for everybody involved,” Heatley said.
It will be the questions that nag at us for a long time. How Heatley could say that he needed to see real choice when turning Edmonton down, but obviously jumped the second California became an option. How he said he wanted a bigger role on a team than he felt he could get amongst Alfredsson, Spezza, Fisher, and Phillips, but couldn’t bring himself to go to Edmonton, which boasted a 1-2 goal-scoring-leader combo of Hemsky and Souray with 23 apiece. How Heatley had alleged problems with Clouston’s coaching but somehow New York and Tortorella made it onto his list, and he’s now wound up under Detroit product Todd McLellan in San Jose, looking for every ounce of committment and full play from his men, on and off the ice in the ways Heatley couldn’t bring himself to show.
It makes you wonder where the problem lay; with Heatley, who couldn’t show himself to be a true leader or to own up to the problems he had in Ottawa (though libel/slander laws and League rules forbid a lot of the discussion that might have taken place), or if it lay with Ottawa, who can count among their most recent departures a very greedy Meszaros, a troubled Wade Redden, a Russian-departure-threatening Nikulin, a Russian-departure-the-only-option Emery, and a now NHL substance abuse program graduate McGrattan (and truly all the best to him)?
There’s a lot to wonder, but at least now, after all this time, the wondering doesn’t have to affect the team, every news conference, and the utter flurry of rumours that spread over the summer, which I proudly avoided, just as I chose to sip Zombies on Lake Okanagan instead of driving into Kelowna for Heatley’s presser this summer. It’s just we fans once again being left with the nagging perturbment in our brains, left out of the loop.
Bah, just give me some hockey!
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