Finally! Heatley will talk

Dany Heatley will address questions regarding his trade demands during a conference call. (Sun...

Dany Heatley will address questions regarding his trade demands during a conference call. (Sun Media/Errol McGihon)

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Hard-shooting winger Dany Heatley is finally ready to do some stickhandling.

At the apparent prodding of his agents and Team Canada officials, the discontent Senator will manoeuvre his way around media questions regarding his trade demands during a 1 p.m. conference call this afternoon from his home in Kelowna, B.C.

Heatley, who also officially informed the Senators yesterday he will report to camp next month if he is not dealt, has been silent in the two and a half months since passing along his wishes and providing GM Bryan Murray with a list of destinations for which he'd wave his no-trade clause.

The only explanation for him wanting out thus far has come from Murray, who's been told Heatley was unhappy with his ice time and the way he was used by Cory Clouston even though the Senators improved after the coach's hiring last February.

Some pretty outlandish scuttlebutt has been whispered by disbelieving hockey fans in the nation's capital who are certain there has to be more to the story.

"I believe it will remain what it is," Murray said yesterday when asked what he expects from Heatley today. "There have been two or three rumours ... in a city like Ottawa that is so hockey conscientious people think there must be other reasons. Some of the rumours are so ridiculous, they're totally made up. It's really sad. That's why some players have a tough time here. Stuff that is said about them even if it's not true.

"I just think Dany wants to be an important player."

Which he is. But under Clouston, he was also asked to be an accountable player. And that, it appears, has been a problem.

Meanwhile, Heatley will be among the 46 skaters reporting to the Olympic team's summer orientation camp in Calgary Monday. Team Canada officials have made it clear they'd prefer he not bring any extra baggage, and therefore suggested he clear the air over the Ottawa situation before arriving.

Murray, who says he has talked to most teams about dealing the two-time 50 goal scorer, was sent notification from agents J.P. Barry and Stacey McAlpine that their client would follow his obligations if a trade hasn't been consummated in the next 23 days.

The more-than-$30 million and five years that are still left on Heatley's deal has been a stumbling block in trade talks, as have concerns over his attitude. On the financial side of it, having Heatley and newly signed winger Alex Kovalev on the same balance sheet currently leaves the Senators about $1 million over budget.

"We'll get to the cap," said Murray. "I have a plan for that, but I can't say anything about it now because it affects players. But we'll get to the cap."

There's a chance it may include defenceman Jason Smith and eating the last year of his $2.6-million contract.

How Heatley fits back into the dressing room has to be more food for thought. No matter what anybody says, Heatley has proved he is more concerned with his own status than he is with the team's success. Every other player wants more ice time, too, but none has demanded a trade over the issue.

Murray said he's not concerned with what kind of effort he'd get from Heatley.

"There will be no problem with that at all," he said. "We've never had a problem with Dany in that regard. I think he's a pretty good hockey player, it's an Olympic year and like I said, he's a professional and a proud guy. There's no question we'll get nothing but his best effort."


Videos

Photos