Senators have Dany dilemma

DON BRENNAN Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

Bad news, Dany.

Nobody wants you.

Not badly enough, anyway.

So ... see ya in September?

Barring any sudden movements, the Senators have 48 hours before they must stroke a $4-million cheque for a winger who really doesn’t want to be here and wave goodbye to a winger who really does.

Funny thing is, Chris Neil would gladly put his name on a four-year contract and bust his ass each day of the deal’s life just to earn what Heatley will be paid for the 2009-10 season — and if he has to stay in Ottawa, there’s really no guessing what kind of effort Heatley is going to produce.

It’s not like Heatley was exactly a 100%-every-shift type guy when he was happy having a coach that didn’t make him accountable, right?

If Senators GM Bryan Murray was asking too much in return for Heatley last week at the NHL draft gathering, it’s probably because he thought there were teams (like Philadelphia) that would be willing to hand over a boatload of assets to other teams (like Anaheim) for a difference- maker (like Chris Pronger).

And if Murray was deemed to be asking too much before he’s scheduled to pay half of Heatley’s 2009-10 salary up front on the first day of next month, he’ll have to want even more for the 50-goal scorer after Wednesday.

It all kind of makes it difficult to imagine Heatley going anywhere, doesn’t it.”

He will be in Ottawa for his pal Jason Spezza’s wedding next month, although it’s doubtful he’ll be here for Spezza’s charity golf tournament next week. There won’t be any media to duck at a private function.

What will be most interesting to see is if Heatley reports to training camp at Scotiabank Place less than three months from now.

You’d like to think yes, he’ll honour his contract, buy into coach Cory Clouston’s program and apologize to his teammates and the paying customers in this city for a momentary mind fart.

You’d like to think he’d be a man about it.

At the same time, that would be contrary to his current behaviour. And if he does return, Heatley would be scrutinized and criticized so much more than ever before, by fans and media alike.

He wouldn’t be able to handle it. So the smart bettors would put their money on him pulling a no-show. It’s not like he’ll starve.

And the half-season salary he’s getting Wednesday is as much or more than everyone on the team will make in 2009-10, except for Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.

Again, it all becomes a moot point if Murray blinks first.

He could decide to let Heatley go for a few draft picks and prospects, then use the suddenly available cash in his budget to chase unrestricted free agents later this week. Jay Bouwmeester will likely sign with Calgary now, and Ottawa can’t afford the Sedin twins if they don’t stay in Vancouver.

But it’s looking like Marian Hossa will be on the market. And there are forwards like Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat, Michael Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Todd Bertuzzi, Nik Antropov, Erik Cole and Mikael Samuelsson. Can’t see Murray taking that route, but it is an option.

It’s going to be a very interesting week.

Bell likely gone

Brendan Bell has likely played his last game for his hometown team. To allow him a shot at the one-way contract he wants, the defenceman was not given a qualifying offer by Murray. That allows him to become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday.

“I’m glad the Senators have made the decision to allow me to test UFA,” Bell said last night. “While I would love to remain with the organization, I realize the contract situation on defence. I would like to thank Mr. Murray for his discretion.”

Ice chips

The conspiracy theorists are figuring the Senators drafted an undersized winger who didn’t play last season in the seventh round because owner Eugene Melnyk wanted Brad Peltz’ dad, American billionaire Nelson Peltz, to invest in the team. After all, the fast food king did try to buy the Senators from Rod Bryden a few years ago. But no, the scouts say Brad will be a legitimate prospect if he can bounce back from a bacterial infection and play with his original speed at 185 lbs. or so ... From his early days as a scoring sensation in the Ottawa West Golden Knights minor hockey system, centre David Pacan became the first player ever drafted into the NHL from the Cumberland Grads when he was picked in the sixth round (177th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday ... Type in the word “fights” after his name on YouTube to see how the Senators’ last pick of the draft, Lincoln Stars (USHL) defenceman Michael Sdao, wound up with 162 penalty minutes in 51 games last season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder throws a wild left.


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