Heatley explains himself

Dany Heatley spoke to the media for the first time since he asked the Senators to trade him. (Sun...

Dany Heatley spoke to the media for the first time since he asked the Senators to trade him. (Sun Media/Darren Brown)

DON BRENNAN, Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

In ending his exasperating silence, Dany Heatley made it clear he still wants to be traded.

And he’s not about to change his mind.

“This is a straight hockey decision,” the reluctant Senator said on a conference call Friday with the national media, his first comments since news of his trade request surfaced in June.

“I have nothing against the fans in Ottawa or the city of Ottawa. This is my feeling of a diminished role playing hockey and I’d like an opportunity to go somewhere else where I can play to the best of my capabilities and be the player that I can be.”

Heatley added the reason he wants out is not “solely” coach Cory Clouston.

“When I signed in Ottawa a few years ago, I felt I was going to be an integral part on the team,” said the two-time 50-goal scorer. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Again, the diminished role was the biggest thing. I think I’m a player who can play in a lot of different situations. I am an offensive guy, but I take pride in all aspects of the game and I don’t feel I was given that role on the team.”

Heatley, who repeated a message his agents sent to the Senators stating that he would report to camp should he still be with Ottawa next month, clearly believes there are teams that want him.

It’s why he exercised his no-movement clause after GM Bryan Murray completed a deal with the Oilers for Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid on July 1.

“At the time, the one option was Edmonton and we weren’t ready to make a decision,” said Heatley, adding he has nothing against the Alberta capital. “We still aren’t ready to make a decision until there are other options.”

Murray, meanwhile, says the lineup for Heatley’s services is not what the winger thinks.

“I don’t know that he’s being misled,” said Murray, “I was told (by the Heatley camp) on several occasions that a team was quite interested. And when I called that particular GM ... it was just the opposite. They had either no money or would not give up a player that was suggested to me.

“If there was an adequate trade that would make Dany happy and the Ottawa Senators happy, I would have pursued it very hard.

“I think Dany or someone believed that I would give them a package of four teams that would give Ottawa whatever they wanted for him and he could pick and choose where to go,” added Murray, who had potentially promising trade talks with one rival GM as recently as Thursday.

“That’s not been the case by any means. There are still a couple of teams I’m talking to, but it’s nowhere close to what I need to get back to protect this franchise.”

Heatley said he didn’t speak on his own defence earlier because he wanted to allow “the process” to take place.

“In all fairness to Ottawa and the other teams involved I didn’t feel it was necessary or served a purpose to come out publicly and create more of a circus than it already was.”

Heatley sounded especially bothered that news of his wishes were leaked to the press. But he claimed he is not worried about the beating his reputation has taken in the court of public opinion.

“I’ve been on a lot of teams, with Team Canada, I’ve played with a lot of different players and played for a lot of different coaches,” he said. “I think everyone I’ve played with

or played for knows I’m a team guy, knows I am a good teammate.”

Murray said it was premature to discuss whether Heatley would be stripped of his ‘A’ should he remain.

“Before I overreacted to a couple of comments I’ve heard, it’s better I wait until we sit with the coaching staff and the players and make that determination.”

For now, Murray will continue to try to make a deal

“For a team to acquire him, you have to have the (cap) space, No. 1, and the list of names I have that they’ve approved limits that to a degree,” said Murray. “(Those teams) have better players and are pretty much stacked, in high-salaried players, for them to acquire him they do have to make moves.

“I think there’s a possibility if we can come up with the right pieces.”


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