Hey, Dany's 'a great guy'

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Call him immature. Call him rich. Call him selfish. Call him tall. Call him spoiled. Call him curly. Call him misunderstood.

Even call him "a great guy," as one of his best friends in Ottawa did last night.

Just don't call him for the Olympic men's team summer orientation camp when you announce that lineup this morning, Steve Yzerman.

Because for all the goals he has scored in international play while wearing the Canadian colours, Dany Heatley is not a team guy. He has proved that by demanding a trade for childish reasons, then vetoing the one that was made because he didn't like the destination.

Canada has a lot of good left wingers, and an overflow of outstanding centres and right wingers. Don't waste a spot on Heatley, Stevie Y.

He may quit on you at the Olympics if he doesn't like what line he winds up on.

Hey, but that's only my opinion, and the opinion of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of hockey fans in the nation's capital and beyond, as well as the view of many NHL GMs, coaches, players, agents, trainers, stick boys, Zamboni drivers, popcorn vendors, program sellers, parking lot attendants, security guards and travel agents.

It's an opinion that Heatley doesn't at all like, but one he brought on himself.

Now, here's the opinion of Brendan Bell, the former Senators defenceman who is expected to be included in the second or third wave of unrestricted free-agent signings.

"As a friend and a teammate, Dany is as much as you can ask for on both fronts," Bell said from his Ottawa home. "He really is a great guy.

"I think a lot of why he's not coming out and speaking has to do with the fact he really does care what people think. He even said that when he came out with his book (Dominant Dany Heatley). He said he really wants people to know that he's a good person, he's a good guy with a big heart."

Bell's first encounter with Heatley came when the former was on the verge of cracking the Maple Leafs roster in 2006. During an exhibition game against the Senators, Heatley slashed him and broke his ankle. After the game, the 50-goal scorer sought out the rookie on the Toronto bus to apologize.

"That was something I remembered," Bell said.

HEATLEY FELT BAD

A couple of years later, when the two became teammates and buddies, they were out on the town one night when Bell's brother teased Heatley about spoiling Brendan's chances of being a Leaf.

"You should have seen how bad Dany still felt about it," Bell said.

Bell fully expected Heatley would play for the Senators next season, if he wasn't traded.

"I really do think he would come back," said Bell. I know he wouldn't dishonour his contract. He is going to live up to it. He likes the game too much. He likes being at the rink. He likes the guys.

"The reception he'd get, in this city, it would be a nightmare for him. He would take it to heart. I don't think he fully realizes the backlash from all this. But I'm really confident he'd come back."

Asked the real reasons Heatley wanted out of Ottawa, Bell insisted there will be no skeletons emerging from the closest when all this is over and done with.

"For all the reasons listed," Bell said, referring to Heatley's unhappiness with coach Cory Clouston, his reduced ice time and delegation, however temporary, to the second power play unit. "There is nothing underlying that people don't know.

"I think he understands the criticism he's getting, he just doesn't like it ... He would just like this to all go away."

Heatley had the chance to go to an Oilers team that isn't nearly as bad as he might think it is. Instead, he bucked the opportunity Tuesday night, effectively creating the biggest "Mess" to hit Edmonton since Mark.

Heatley kept the Senators wondering if he would, effectively preventing them from shopping on the free-agent market yesterday.

"It's hard to commit that type of money with Heatley in limbo," one team official said when asked if the Senators were truly in the Mike Cammalleri sweepstakes.

Wherever Heatley winds up, it better not be in Vancouver with Team Canada.

For Dany Heatley might be a great friend and teammate, but he is no team guy.


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