SAN JOSE -- Bryan Murray says he's "pretty much" closed the book on the Dany Heatley debacle.
While the bitterness of a long summer battle over Heatley's trade request is being rekindled with the sniper preparing to face his old team tomorrow night, Murray won't get caught up in the hype.
The Senators GM said he all but closed that chapter in his life in September when he granted Heatley his wish and dealt him to the Sharks for Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round pick in 2010.
"We've moved on, pretty much. We feel that we're okay after the trade," said Murray. "I know (this game) will be something for the players who have played with him because they recognize what he was and how he played for us.
"(But) the team, as a group of players, will be satisfied when we get out of (San Jose) and, hopefully, we win and move on. I've gotten (over) it."
Not entirely, it seems.
What still bothers Murray is the fact Heatley signed a six-year, $45-million extension in October 2007 -- only to ask for a trade less than two years later, then invoke his no-movement clause when the Senators negotiated a deal with the Edmonton Oilers.
An added insult for the Senators was Heatley's refusal to go to Edmonton after the July 1 near-deal forced owner Eugene Melnyk to cut the winger a $4-million bonus cheque as part of his contract.
Melnyk is still trying to recover that money through a grievance filed with the NHL.
As for Murray, he said he was never angry over Heatley.
"You get to a stage in your career where there are things that frustrate you and that's all it was for me. People ask me if I was angry? I wasn't angry at all. I was just frustrated that we negotiated a more-than-fair deal and he had an opportunity to be in Ottawa to be an important player.
"It seemed to me it was wrong. You go through different people and different things in your career and that was one of the ones that certainly wasn't easy to deal with."
The lingering question is why exactly did Heatley want out so badly? Could he just not stand playing for coach Cory Clouston, or were there underlying factors?
Murray said he believes Heatley had issues with his teammates' roles, and wasn't convinced the club was headed in the right direction.
"It was ice time, importance on the team. It was all the things that you guys wrote about. Dany certainly didn't like the media pointing out things that he wasn't doing. He seemed to be offended by that," said Murray.
"(Also), he may have had a problem with some of his teammates. I think he felt that a couple of veteran guys, in particular, were more recognized than he was. That seems a little far-fetched to me.
"I think it just came down to the fact I don't think he thought our team was great. He thought going to a different location -- and a good team like San Jose -- might put him close to winning a championship."
He's certainly responded in San Jose. Heatley was among the league scoring leaders with 18 goals and 30 points in 27 games heading into last night's game in Vancouver.
For Murray, Michalek was the key in the deal — and he's lived up to expectations.
The hard-nosed winger earned the Senators a point in Boston Saturday by tying the game with 20 seconds left in regulation. It was his second goal and third point in the
4-3 shootout loss, giving him a team-leading 13 goals to go with five assists in 24 games.
The injury-plagued Cheechoo has struggled (two goals, two assists), but the Senators knew what they were getting in him: A reclamation project.
"Cheechoo has been a competitive, good guy and he's going to play a hard-nosed role for us," said Murray. "I just hope he continues to get chances and scores some goals. He's a good guy, he works hard and in the later of stages of the year, he'll be competitive.
"(Michalek) is going to score his goals and he scores them in a much different way than (Heatley). He kills penalties, he works hard and he looks like he really enjoys playing the game."
But Murray said the difference-maker in the trade could come later. "That second-round pick will end up being a player for us and, hopefully, that will tip the scale."