Cory Clouston wants to look Dany Heatley in the eyes before deciding whether to rip the 'A' off the disgruntled winger's chest.
During an availability session with reporters yesterday, the Senators coach wouldn't speculate on whether Heatley would remain an alternate captain. But a decision will be made after players report for medicals Sept. 12.
"We'll wait and see on that," said Clouston. "Until we see the whites of his eyes in the dressing room, we'll address it then."
He was mystified by Heatley's first public comments since asking for a trade. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Heatley complained about a "diminished role."
"I'm not going to speak for Dany. I don't think we learned a whole heck of a lot from him," said Clouston. "Maybe in the last couple of years, it has been creeping into the back of his head. I'm not going to comment on what he's thinking or not.
"As far as a diminished role, it was very slightly diminished, and in my opinion it wasn't diminished. It might have been "second power play," but that wasn't a punishment. That was to try and spread out the scoring. Everybody knows his production actually went up over the last while as well. Did I learn a whole heck of a lot more? No. Not necessarily."
League sources say Senators GM Bryan Murray is actively pursuing a Heatley deal with the San Jose Sharks.
Clouston is getting ready for two scenarios: One that includes the two-time 50-goal scorer as part of the picture and one if he gets dealt.
"We need a guy like Dany Heatley to want an expanded role," said Clouston. "I don't think a coach ever has many players coming into their office saying they want their roles diminished.
"We needed from Dany what we need from everybody else: To come into camp in a good frame of mind, be a team guy, work extremely hard and, if those things were done, his ice time was not going to be diminished in any way, shape or form. Our meetings were never tense ... they were always very professional."
Clouston said if Heatley does return he has work to do in the dressing room.
"Obviously, there is going to have to be some trust rebuilt," said Clouston.