Dany's return fails to spark Sens

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:04 AM ET

Apparently, the smelly stuff doesn’t attract as many flies as one might have thought.

Scotiabank Place was not sold out for the return of Dany Heatley.

With the Ottawa fans at SBP booing and chanting disparaging words, it was the former Senators star and his new friends who had the last laugh. Yes, it was yet another disappointing performance at SBP for the hometown zeroes.

Through 26 games now, this Senators team has gone full circle, from bad to better to good — to now just downright lousy.

They’ve scored 17 goals in 11 games and they could very much use the talents of Heatley, who earned one assist and drew the penalty that led to San Jose’s first-period goal by tiptoeing through the Senators like he was the greatest puck-carrying forward of all-time until the defensively awful Sergei Gonchar took two for hooking.

A couple of hours before game time, cameramen caught Heatley walking into the building with his longtime pal Chris Phillips.

As they parted ways, Phillips said to Heatley, “I think the bet is on.”

No doubt Phillips, the fine, upstanding human he is, was either pulling a practical joke on the media or talking about a gentlemen’s wager he and Heatley had on the Eagles-Texans NFL game.

Or, rumour is, Heatley couldn’t stand Bobby Lalonde, the fiddler who hasn’t performed during Senators games in some time. But there was Lalonde Thursday night, fiddling up a storm and standing right behind the Sharks bench for his first tune. Maybe Phillips had told Heatley the Senators would stoop to such depths to get under his skin, and Heatley bet him they wouldn’t. If so, put it down as yet another Senators loss.

At least the fans had their fun, including a group of them who walked down to the glass early in the third period and tossed what we assume were old Heatley jerseys onto the ice. The best chant of the night: “Dany Douche Bag.” Others included “Traiiitooor” and “F.U. Heatley.” A sampling of the signs: “Heatley, I peed in your Gatorade.” “Heatley drinks his own pee.” “Kick Dany’s Fanny.”

By the end of the game, however, the boos were being directed not at Heatley, but his old teammates. They deserved them, as they were so, so bad.

Starts and stops

Who has been the best Shark so far this season, according to GM Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan? Not Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau or even Heatley, but former 67’s captain Logan Couture. “Logan has been tremendous,” said McLellan. “He’s playing with a little bit of freedom. I don’t think a lot of the league knows him yet, although that’s changing 25 games in. He’s very hungry and on the puck all the time.” Couture was hungry enough to score twice in his first visit to Ottawa since his junior team was eliminated by Niagara in the 2008-09 OHL playoffs. “To be 21 playing in this league is something I never thought I’d be able to do,” Couture, who was named first star, said before the game.

Between periods

The more he distinguishes himself as a columnist, former Senators defenceman Jason York is becoming as scatterbrained as the rest of us. When he reached into his coat pocket to grab his cell Thursday morning, York pulled out his house phone. “Looks like your TV remote,” somebody told him. “I think it’s in there, too,” said York.

Things I think I think

As if San Jose GM Doug Wilson didn’t already win the Dany Heatley trade badly enough, now Jonathan Cheechoo seems to be making a serious comeback-to-the-NHL bid. He is the leading scorer on the Sharks’ AHL team in Worcester, where he has seven goals and 13 assists through 22 games ... Sergei Gonchar was the second-best No. 55 on the ice. Right after Mike Moore. What Moore is, is a Sharks defenceman who was playing his fifth NHL game ... Sharks coach Todd McLellan put a positive spin on the abuse that would be hurled at Heatley. “I think it’s a real good sign, that there’s so many passionate people about the game that this (Heatley return) could be such a big thing,” he said. “With all that goes on in the world. I think it’s really healthy for the NHL, and for hockey in general that there’s this much of a focus on it.” He was then asked to define Heatley’s “role” with the Sharks, since that’s such a sensitive word for No. 15. “Dany’s role is an offensive catalyst,” said McLellan. Are you wary of asking him to adjust his game? Such a request didn’t go over well in Ottawa. “That was something we made very clear to him right off the bat. It’s our job as coaches to push him.”  Thanks, Todd. We’ll get back to you on that in a year or two.

Things that make you go hmmm

Playing in his 700th NHL game, Ottawa’s Dan Boyle took a two-minute penalty for being tackled by Milan Michalek in the first. He then got into it with Chris Neil in the third. Boyle was anxious to get a piece of Neil, as the pair skated to the box. As they continued to jaw from the bin, Neil turned around to show Boyle his number, just in case the defenceman wanted to take it for later ...

C'mon man!

Okay Dany, tell us once and for all, how did your role change in Ottawa? “I just felt overall, the way I was being used and my role on the team had changed from the time I started here to the time I ended here. I felt it was best to move on at that time.” What?

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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