Heatley earns 'A' from Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

STOCKHOLM -- Dany Heatley wants more.

Responsibility, trust, obligation.

The Senators' high-scoring winger got more yesterday as Senators coach Craig Hartsburg bestowed on him the assistant captaincy vacated by the departure of defenceman Wade Redden.

"It feels good," said Heatley of being asked to wear an 'A.' "I said it earlier in camp. I've been here three years and been in the league six, seven years now. I feel like I can do more, become more of a leader, play in more situations and Craig's given me that opportunity so far in the pre-season. I just want to keep improving in all those areas throughout the year. It's definitely an honour to be named a captain."

Heatley came to the Senators in trying circumstances after a car accident which killed Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley suffered serious injuries and asked for a fresh start in another city and was swapped for former Senators winger Marian Hossa. Yesterday's development is another step in the progression of Heatley's career and his development into one of the NHL's top scorers and an emerging leader. He said he is looking to grow his game in other areas to complement his scoring.

"My job is to produce and score goals, but you're not going to score every night. I think in the other games contribute in other areas, show up and do your thing every night. I just think being an offensive guy, you get labelled as being poor in other areas, poor defensively and things like that. That might have been the case early on in my career, but I think I've learned a lot and improved in the last six years. I just appreciate the fact they've given me that chance to wear a letter and a chance to play in different situations and have more responsibility."

Hartsburg said he based his choice on what he has seen and heard.

"My conversations with Dany over the summer, observing, watching players from the start of training camp and how they've acted or interacted with their teammates, their work habits. I think Dany will do a great job for us. To me, all leadership is about how you act on the ice, how you prepare yourself to play. Certainly there's times when they have to speak up, but I think it's more their actions than it is what they say," said Hartsburg. "That's the belief I had as a player and as a coach. You lead by example."

Heatley joins veteran defenceman Chris Phillips as an assistant to captain Daniel Alfredsson.

"I think he's feeling more comfortable," Alfredsson said of Heatley. "He knows he's one of the best goal scorers in the league. He's taking on a bigger role every year just because he's becoming a better player all the time as well. He's a guy who puts his time in on the ice and works at getting better. He wants to evolve his game, too, he's talking about killing penalties more, contributing in different ways than just scoring goals. It's just the evolution of a really good player."


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