OTTAWA -- When Dany Heatley smiled yesterday at the Corel Centre, you didn't have to be a dentist to think of Bobby Clarke and Doug Gilmour.
No, you had to think that the newly acquired Senators winger was finally going to get to show in the playoffs the leadership and the guts that these other dentally-challenged heroes always demonstrated.
"I'm just thrilled to be here in Ottawa and I'm really excited," Heatley said. "This could not have worked out better. I'm getting a chance to come to a team that is going to be a Stanley Cup contender. It's going to be great to get a chance to be on a winning team."
Acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers for winger Marian Hossa and defenceman Greg de Vries on Tuesday, Heatley was having a hard time not flashing his smile as he signed autographs for Ottawa fans.
After signing a three-year, $13.5 million US deal with the Senators, Heatley was clear he was happy to be back in a place where people care about hockey because he never had seen this excitement in Atlanta.
"I don't know if I've seen this kind of excitement in any hockey community since (Wayne) Gretzky went to Los Angeles ... especially in this size of a city," Senators general manager John Muckler said.
"I can't believe how exciting it is around here. I was listening to the radio yesterday and I've been doing some interviews and I've never really seen it at the level it is right now. I just believe this is going to be a great move for our hockey club because Dany Heatley makes us better. We had to give up a great young player in Marian Hossa, but we got a great young player in return."
No, Heatley shouldn't have any problem fitting in with his new team. He knows centre Mike Fisher along with defencemen Chris Phillips and Wade Redden from playing with them at the world championship last spring.
In fact, Heatley turned down the club's offer to take a hotel room and decided to stay at the Phllips household last night because, as agent Stacey McAlpine pointed out: "We're all good Western Canadian boys."
"This is such a great fit for Dany," said McAlpine, who brought in IMG Hockey co-managing director J.P. Barry a couple of weeks ago to help with the Heatley negotiations. "This is the perfect place for him to end up. It really is.
"When (Barry) and I sat down when the decision was made to make a trade request we put down places where it might make sense for Dany Heatley to go and Ottawa was always at the top of that list. We knew the problems they were having with Hossa and we thought this would be the perfect fit."
Heatley would gladly second that thinking.
"I look at Ottawa and there's just so much talent on the team. Yes, I know there's going to be pressure, but I've always had pressure and I feel I can handle the pressure."
Though Heatley wore No. 15 with the Thrashers, he put No. 51 on his back during the jersey presentation with Muckler. "That's just because I haven't had a chance to negotiate with (Peter Schaefer) yet," he said.