OTTAWA - Eugene Melnyk can’t wait for his date with Dany Heatley.
His arbitration date, that is.
As reported by QMI Agency Thursday, independent arbitrator George Nicolau is ready to hear Melnyk’s grievance over a $4-million bonus he paid to the former Senators star in 2009 and the two sides are trying to come up with a date.
Melnyk filed the grievance shortly after Heatley refused to lift his no-movement clause and accept a trade to the Edmonton Oilers. The Senators owner then had to write a $4-million cheque to his disgruntled player.
Once Nicolau has heard the case, which will be defended by the NHLPA, he will have 30 days to hand down a ruling. Melnyk said Saturday he’s optimistic he’ll get his bonus money back.
“I’m confident enough that when you think you’re right, you fight,” said Melnyk. “In this case, we’re right and we fight.”
Melnyk said the two sides had previously agreed to a date but it had to be cancelled. He met with Senators president Cyril Leeder Friday in Ottawa to see if they can get the case heard soon.
“We thought we had a date, but people just aren’t available,” said Melnyk. “Both parties have to agree to a date. At one point, you just have to say we’ve got to get this over with and done. The arbitrator is available now because the big backlog has been cleaned up.”
After reporting for training camp in 2009, Heatley was dealt to the Sharks. There’s a chance the Sharks could be forced to pay the bonus if Heatley loses the case. Heatley was traded to Minnesota last summer.