Sens GM has demands

Sens GM Bryan Murray hopes to get something done involving Dany Heatley before the NHL draft. (Sun...

Sens GM Bryan Murray hopes to get something done involving Dany Heatley before the NHL draft. (Sun Media/Tony Caldwell)

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Asked yesterday about his strategy for next week's NHL draft -- in light of the sniffling demands from his sulking sniper -- Senators GM Bryan Murray played the old "we'll take the best player available" card. In usual Murray style, of course.

"It doesn't matter the position," he said when asked if Ottawa is now leaning toward selecting a defenceman or forward with the ninth choice overall. "As long as he's not a manager."

To be clear, that was not a shot at Dany Heatley. And even if he had meant it to be, it would have been slightly off target.

Heatley has never given any indication he wants to be a GM. Just as it's obvious that, with the announcement of Roy Mlakar's successor, he never demanded to be the new president and CEO, either. No, he just wanted to be the first-line left winger and coach.

Speaking publicly for the first time since receiving a letter from Heatley's agent June 8 asking the Senators to deal the two-time 50-goal scorer, Murray said he has already had discussions with "several teams" and hopes to get something done before the draft June 26 in Montreal.

"I don't really have a timetable," said Murray. "I have encouraged anybody that is really interested to try to make the contact before the draft."

That's going to take some fancy talking.

Trading Heatley before the draft means Murray has not only found what he feels to be a fair return for a player that has scored 260 goals and 543 points in 507 games between quitting on two teams, but also another GM whose owner doesn't mind ponying up $4 million US in bonus money that's going to come out of Eugene Melnyk's bank account July 1, otherwise.

As it is, the Senators are still officially in the running for any of the top young players available in this year's crop. How high can they pick? The sky might be the limit, depending on what Murray includes in a trade that includes his big bonus crybaby.

"Nobody has offered that to me yet, but those are things I would consider, without a doubt," Murray said of a package deal. "We're looking at a variety of avenues. If it's a draft pick, or if it's the flip of a pick and a couple of players coming back, we would consider anything."

But Murray also made it clear he won't trade Heatley unless he's quite happy with the return.

"I can tell you this," said Murray. "If the deal doesn't come down that we need to make, he'll have a choice at that point in time."

That choice being, play for Ottawa or don't play at all.

Of course, Heatley will never play another game for Ottawa. Not only would the team would be crazy to stick his cancerous attitude in its dressing room again, but Heatley doesn't have the spine to pull on a Senators jersey again.

WILL BE BOOED

As it is, he's going to be booed mercilessly at Scotiabank Place as the most-hated player in franchise history. Even more despised than Alexei Yashin.

Murray did say that it wasn't just a reduction of ice time and demotion to the second power-play unit that put Heatley's nose out of joint.

"There were a couple of other issues as well," he said. "They were mainly the finger being pointed at him on a few occasions, he didn't think was always fair."

See, you knew it had to be something pretty bad, eh?

Meanwhile, coach Cory Clouston is "devastated" that he's being pointed at as the man who is chasing the most prolific scorer in team history out of town, according to Murray.

He shouldn't be. He's in the right. But he is.

"The frustrating part for us is that we've gone through several coaches here that we couldn't win enough games with (and) we brought in a guy the results we were very happy with," said Murray. "The team started to look like a real team again, and then to be blindsided really, in his way of thinking anyway, by one of your players not wanting to fit in, that's hard for a coach to accept."

Murray said Clouston and Heatley were urged to sit down and work out their problems. There were supposed to be "meetings going forward." But then, all of a sudden, Murray was told Heatley wanted out.

"It happened so quick," said Murray, who received a call from agent Stacey McAlpine informing him of the request either June 4 or 5. "I did say I'm not going to do the Joe Corvo thing again, when (Corvo) demanded to be traded, and after he got traded he told everybody here that he didn't ask to be traded.

"I said (to McAlpine) I need a letter in my hand to request this trade, and when they sent me the letter, obviously I knew they were serious."

Murray made it clear the news that Heatley wanted to be traded was leaked by "his people". He said there is a wish list of teams Heatley would prefer to play on, but added that he didn't know if he would be sticking to that list.

"If he doesn't want to be in Ottawa, and there's another team that offers me a deal that I think is a better deal, then obviously I've got to put some pressure on them to accept that, or he may end up playing back here," said Murray. "It's hard to give up 50 goals.

"What it may help us do, however, is balance our dollars a little bit, and in particular if the cap is going to go down in the future, to have maybe two players (for) that amount of money rather than one. But when you lose a star, you lose a star. They're hard to replace."


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