Oilers left at the altar

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Boy, oh, boy oh Dany boy, is this a double whammy of Pronger proportions to the well-bruised Edmonton ego.

Edmonton product Jay Bouwmeester signing with Calgary was the first skate to drop. But that was nothing until Calgary product Dany Heatley played coy when it came to to waiving his no trade clause on a done deal.

The price was a little stiff. But it would have allowed the Edmonton Oilers to unload a stiff and add a 50-goal scorer to play with Ales Hemsky.

But now young gun Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid and Dustin Penner know the Oilers had traded them, which is only minor damage.

But now the world knows that a Calgarian would apparently rather take the spit and abuse of coming off as a bigger jerk than he already appeared to be to play in the city a three hour drive to the north.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

It all began as if it was all too good to be true, which it turned out to be.

Heatley, a 50-goal scorer, was coming to Edmonton to play with Ales Hemsky and, at the same time, in the same deal, the Oilers were unloading Dustin Penner on the Ottawa Senators.

Pretty much nobody heard the rest of the deal which was rumoured to be coming together.

Fifty goals in. Penner out.

Heatley a bit of a jerk? Fine. Fifty goals.

Ladislav Smid or Tom Gilbert gone? No problem. As long as Penner, and his $4.25 per year contract for the next three years from Kevin Lowe's restricted free agent move that backfired big time, was gonzo.

A couple hours later, the word out of Ottawa was that the deal was indeed imminent.

Then the news broke on another front.

Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter had signed the No. 1 free-agent prize Jay Bouwmeester right under the nose of the Oilers.

Sutter's move to trade disposable Jordan Leopold and a third round pick to Florida at the NHL Entry Draft on the weekend to buy a few hours exclusive negotiating time with the 6-foot-2 defenceman who plays 27 minutes a game 82 games year and quite likely has his best years ahead of him, had succeeded.

Bouwmeester signed a five year deal for $6.6 million U.S. per season.

That gave Calgary, in Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf and Bouwmeester, three superstars, possibly three future Hall of Famers, from the Heartland of Hockey.

Edmonton didn't even get to make a pitch.

Bouwmeester obviously didn't really want to play here.

But, hey, Bouwmeester never managed to work his way into the heart of the community like Iginla in St. Albert.

And Heatley's from Calgary. Forgetaboutit.

Then the other skate dropped. The Heatley deal was done and had been for a couple of hours.

But Edmonton wasn't one of the cities on the list that Heatley, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, wanted to be traded to.

BALKED AT THE DEAL

He was, at first glace, balking at the deal.

No. Say it ain't so.

An Edmonton superstar signs as a free agent in Calgary and a Calgary product who doesn't like his coach, former University of Alberta player and Edmontonian Cory Clouston, doesn't want to come here.

If there was a Big Ben in downtown Edmonton, you could have heard every tick from City of Champions sign to City of Champions sign on the outskirts of town.

At the stroke of midnight Eastern, Heatley's $4 million bonus was supposed to kick in and all deals would be off.

Or would they?

His agent told Sportsnet.ca that the deal wasn't dead, because the bonus deadline was really tonight at midnight. Shortly after the deadline had come and gone, it became official.

Sort of.

Heatley had rejected the trade.

Sort of.

And now, GM Steve Tambellini goes into the official Free Agent Frenzy today, needing to sign a big name not for the Oilers, but for Edmonton.

Strange as it sounds, Heatley could still be that name.

But let's get serious. The guy just telegraphed that he doesn't want to play here. And I'm pretty sure the majority of Oilers fans would like him to take a hike as well.

Also, there's the teensy weensy little matter of free agency starting at 10 a.m. today. So the Oilers are going to have to go through a whole other day of midnight madness and not do anything on the first day of free-agent frenzy only to watch this guy do it again?

Gimme a break.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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