For all the Leafs-burning Dany Heatley has done in the past, one might think Brian Burke would want to put a stomp to it.
One might think that the Toronto GM would come up with a package to try and entice Bryan Murray, his Ottawa counterpart, into shipping Heatley down the 401.
To the contrary, as hot as the whiny winger has been against the Maple Leafs (37 games, 27 goals, 23 assists) over his career, Burke said yesterday he wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole.
"We're not going to be in on that," Burke stated yesterday when asked about the Heatley sweepstakes in a radio interview on NHL Live!, an NHL Network production. "He's a good player, but I have certain guidelines on how players ask for trades."
In other words, Burke prefers they don't publicly embarrass him or his organization in the process.
Seems like a reasonable rule, no?
For those just returning from a week's vacation in a spot where hockey doesn't matter (like Florida or Phoenix), Heatley has done some irreparable damage to his reputation while you were gone. He decided that, after 34 games of sheer hell, he can no longer play for Senators coach Cory Clouston. It has something to do with Heatley losing a little ice time, suffering through a couple of games in which he was demoted to the second power-play unit and (gasp!) being called out in the dressing room.
How is it possible Clouston hasn't been arrested, eh?
And so it is that, a year after signing a multi-season, mega-bucks, no-movement contract every other player in the league would kill for, Heatley has forever tarnished his name by demanding to be released from this torture.
Not even his agents, the generally respected J.P. Barry and Stacey McAlpine, were able to keep the soother in his mouth, Heatley's bottom lip was hanging so low. Either that or they have forgotten that part of their job is to advise their clients. Surely, they didn't suggest he take this route.
Anyway, Murray says he has contacted "several teams" and would like to get something done before the draft, but that's going to be difficult because A) Heatley is owed $4 million US in bonus money July 1 and B) there have to be more GMs who think like Burke.
Believe it or don't, not everybody is going to want a player who believes he's bigger than the team -- even if he is a former 50-goal scorer.
"When you have players come ask you for a trade, I tell the players 'don't finish that sentence,' because once you ask, I'm going to move you," Burke said on the radio show. "If a player wants out, you're darn right I'm going to move you. I'm not kissing anyone's ass to play in my town, so to hell with you, don't finish the sentence. My second rule is if I hear about this, you're not going anywhere."
Murray said Tuesday that Heatley's demands were made public by "his people." If so, Barry and McAlpine have made dealing the Dany The Dog that much tougher.
"For a player to pop off and say he wants out or leak it (to the media), in my mind you are now no longer interested in your team," Burke continued. "If you've done that you've handicapped them, you've handcuffed your GM.
"As long as you are on that team, you owe them to maximize the asset, and once you've taken that step, sorry I don't accept that."
It would hurt the Senators -- whose only mistake here was in hiring a coach that wants his players to follow his plan for success -- but wouldn't it be nice to see the 28 other GMs take Burke's stance?
It won't happen, of course, but wouldn't it look good on Heatley if not only the teams on his list of preferred destinations wanted no part of him, but nobody else in the NHL did, either?