Dany Heatley wasn't at Kanata Lakes for the Senators' charity golf tourney this morning, but he was the talk of the town.
Heatley will now meet with the Senators players face-to-face tomorrow at Scotiabank Place, his first contact with them since he damanded a trade almost three months ago.
It will be interesting to see the reception he gets, because even captain Daniel Alfredsson is acknowledging that part of the reason Ottawa is struggling to deal the former 50-goal scorer is that his reputation has taken a real beating.
The Senators are still trying to deal Heatley but can't get the San Jose Sharks to close a reported three-way deal that would also include the L.A. Kings.
"From what has been reported in the media so far there is no question his reputation is taking a hit," said Alfredsson today. "Like I said the only reason is just not being happy. It could be something else and maybe it sheds a different light on the story."
Coach Cory Clouston said Heatley isn't going to get any special treatment in camp and is going to have to play through the controversy.
"He'll play at home and he'll play a road game or two. We're not going to change our camp to try and cater to protecting him," said Clouston. "He's going to play at home. He'll play on the road and that's not going to change whether there is this situation or not."
The players aren't sure what they want to hear from Heatley.
"I haven't spent any time with him. I only worry about my own business and I'm going to make sure I give my best and I'm sure he's thinking the same thing," said winger Jarkko Ruutu.
"We have a good team on paper. We have to prove it on the ice. That's one thing we have to realize and we have to rebound right from the start."
Ruutu said the players won't try to do anything to change Heatley's mind.
"I don't think he would really change his mind if I called," said Ruutu.