Heatley says it wasn't personal, Oilers fans

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Dany Heatley said it was nothing personal.

Addressing the media for the first time since requesting a trade out of Ottawa, and then turning down a move to the Edmonton Oilers, the disgruntled star claimed it was all about options. He wasn't impressed Edmonton turned out to be the only one.

"They were not on our initial list of teams that I gave the Senators to talk to," Heatley said. "When that trade came up, it came as a big surprise and I wasn't ready at that time, nor am I now, ready to make a decision.

"It was the only option. I don't feel like I can make the right decision until there are a few options and I can make the right decision for myself and my career."

The Oilers had reached an agreement with the Sens for Heatley earlier this summer, which would have sent Dustin Penner, Ladislav Smid and Andrew Cogliano to Ottawa.

Heatley, however, refused to waive his no-trade clause, even after Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe tried to convince him otherwise. Tambellini and Lowe flew to Heatley's summer home in Kelowna to speak with the two-time 50-goal scorer. The Oilers reportedly later sent a video package highlighting why Edmonton would be a good fit.

"We had some good talks with Steve (Tambellini) and Kevin (Lowe), but it had nothing to do with Edmonton," Heatley said. "It had everything to do with what we stated at the start of the trade. We want options. I've always wanted options and I need some options in order to make the right decision."

Eventually, the Oilers bowed out of the running.

Heatley is just one year into a six-year, $45-million contract extension with the Senators. It's the second time in his career the six-foot-three, 220-pound winger has requested a trade. In fall of 2003 he was responsible for an auto accident that killed friend and teammate Dan Snyder. Not long after, the Thrashers honoured Heatley's request and traded him to the Senators.

"The two trade requests were totally different circumstances," Heatley said.

"The trade out of Atlanta was a life decision. It was an off-ice thing and this trade is purely hockey. There are two totally different trade requests there."

Heatley seemed miffed that word of his trade demand leaked out to the media.

"I definitely disagree with how it became public -- that's the reason it's become a huge story. We asked for a trade verbally at the beginning of May. The Senators asked for a letter asking for a trade in writing in June. We gave them that letter and a few days after that it became public.

"I regret the way things have gone this summer -- it's been a tough summer and it hasn't been fair to especially Edmonton and Ottawa, but that's the way it went."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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