Sens captain baffled by Dany

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is just as surprised as everyone else regarding the Dany...

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is just as surprised as everyone else regarding the Dany Heatley fiasco.. (Tony Caldwell/SUN MEDIA)

CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Like everybody else, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson didn't see the Dany Heatley train wreck coming.

Surprised?

"I was, no question, as I think most people were," said Alfredsson, speaking on the topic for the first time since word of Heatley's request leaked out close to a month ago.

"I didn't get the sense from him at the end of the year that it was that big a concern for him with the coach, so definitely, I was caught by surprise."

You have to wonder how close Heatley was with any of his teammates when the story from all of them -- including from the captain -- seems to be the same. Heatley didn't confide in them when it came to his profound unhappiness with his situation here in Ottawa.

Alfredsson found out about Heatley's trade request in a conversation with Senators GM Bryan Murray a couple of days before word leaked out.

Word is Heatley has differences with coach Cory Clouston and the direction the team is taking but has yet to speak publicly about his demand.

But Alfredsson said a difference of opinion with the coach is nothing new and shouldn't be something that can't be overcome. The captain can't understand Heatley.

"I think everybody respects Dany for the person he is. He's a good teammate," Alfredsson said. "I haven't spoken to him to find out if there's something else than just the coach ... a lot of players have had differences with a coach before. You can move past that."

Alfredsson, currently in Paris to attend NHL Players Association meetings but due to return to Sweden today, said he has tried but has been unable to get in touch with Heatley to discuss the situation. He says he'll continue to try and talk with Heatley.

"I want to because I would like to know ... this is all speculation from you guys, from myself, from everybody," Alfredsson said. "Dany hasn't spoken publicly about it. Nobody knows how everything came to be, if it was just a process where he felt throughout the end of the season, 'I'd like to be somewhere else,' or if it was, 'One day, I woke up and I needed a change.'

"I'm not sure. I definitely would like to talk to him."

Alfredsson said if it turns out there is no deal, Heatley could return to the Senators.

"If he feels he can contribute to the team, I don't think coming back to the team is the big problem. Obviously, the media and the fans will have a harder time with how everything has been dealt with. It's become a very unfortunate situation for everybody involved," Alfredsson said. "We definitely would work something out."

It's going to be a much different situation this fall than might have been imagined. The Senators were 19-11-4 after Clouston took over, creating at least a bit of optimism for next NHL season.

That's another reason Heatley's unhappiness is a head- scratcher for Alfredsson.

"I thought we were a team that had turned things around and was going in the right direction," Alfredsson said. "We underachieved throughout the whole year and turned things around. You see a lot of positive signs going forward -- maybe trying to reach the playoffs next year and going far in the playoffs.

"Obviously, Dany was a huge part of our success before, and I thought he would be going forward, as well," Alfredsson added. "We'll see what happens. If he wants to be a part of the team, we would definitely work something out.

"That's in his hands, and he's going to have to make the decision."

CHRIS STEVENSON IS A SUN MEDIA COLUMNIST


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