Alfie: Heatley's reputation is tarnished

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 PM ET

Nobody saw this day coming — especially Dany Heatley.

Heatley probably thought the next time he arrived at Scotiabank Place, it would be as an opponent ... his trade demand fulfilled.

Instead, he’ll be reporting for training camp today at SBP as a member of the Senators.

His agents, J.P Barry and Stacey McAlpine, could never have fathomed it. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, GM Bryan Murray and coach Cory Clouston didn’t want it.

Heatley’s teammates wanted to avoid this whole mess too, but like it or not, the two-time 50-goal scorer will have his medical today and will be on the ice tomorrow.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson said Heatley’s character has been tarnished, whether it’s fair or not.

“From what has been reported in the media so far there is no question his reputation has taken a hit,” said Alfredsson. “I don’t know if the whole reason is just not being happy with his role or not. There could be something else that sheds a different light on the story.”

There will be no group hug when Heatley walks into the dressing room. He has to tell a group of players, who he clearly doesn’t want to be with, why they should trust him if he remains in Ottawa.

While many players faced the cameras at Kanata Lakes before teeing off in the club’s charity golf tournament, not one spoke about how Heatley was going to be here to help them win games and make the playoffs. Instead, they talked about him being motivated to get dealt and play for Team Canada.

How nice is that?

But the players don’t have any choice. Heatley is under contract, so he’s here until the Senators can make a trade. That could be today, might be tomorrow, a week from now or in a month. Until then, the players have to accept him.

“If we get off to a great start, and we’re winning and Dany is playing well and the fans can kind of get on our side and his side, then winning can erase a lot of things,” said centre Mike Fisher.

“We just have to hope for what’s best for the team going forward. Whether it’s Dany here playing well and forget about it or it’s a trade that’s good for the team and good for both sides and everybody is happy and we can move forward. We just want a good year with the people here.”

What hurts most, of course, is that Heatley wants out.

“I’m disappointed,” said Fisher. “He’s a big part of our team and he doesn’t want to be here. At the same time, as a person, you want him to be happy and to do well. It’s hard because of the way it has come out and kind of handcuffed the team. It’s been a bad situation.”

Linemate Jason Spezza, a close of friend of Heatley’s, is choosing his words carefully, but admits it would have been better off for everybody involved if Heatley had already been dealt.

“This happens in sports. There’s lots of different opinions on things,” said Spezza. “It would have been a lot better if this thing would have gotten settled a lot easier. It hasn’t. We’re here today and we have to deal with it.

“I don’t know if there’d be a quick forgiveness. It would definitely help if he started scoring. We need to win games. Fans are usually happiest when you’re winning. If he’s scoring and we’re not winning, they’ll be all over him. If he’s scoring and we’re winning, then it will be a little bit easier.”

Alfredsson, who tried to reach out to Heatley over the summer only to never have his calls returned, said he didn’t take it personally.

“I’m sure he’s had tons of calls,” Alfredsson said. “Maybe he should call me because he called other guys, but it’s nothing I take personally.

“I know it’s been a tough summer for everybody that’s been involved in our organization and for his side as well, but it’s nothing I’m stuck on.”

This is the day Heatley has dreaded all summer.


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