Call it naive, whatever, there was a time this cowboy would have been one of the 450 get-a-lifers on the Fuck Dany Heatley Facebook group. It is just hard to see the gain in slamming Heatley day after day for not just surrendering his "negotiated right through the no-movement clause to have a strong say in where he gets traded." (Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com.) It's negotiated. Contrary to what some bar patron quoted in the Ottawa Sun, the Senators cannot actually "stick him in the minors and let him rot." This came to mind before Jason Spezza stood by his wingman in an article posted on the website, by the way.
Being a fan is not expressed by venting the kind of rage typically seen on cable news (please don't take that last part literally, it's just a good article). There is no desire to side with Heatley (AKA Joseph Stallin) side for the sake thereof. It would just be nice if the city's rank-and-file looked a bit better informed about sports. There is an exemption if you write half-funny, like Scott Feschuk at Macleans ("A small number of Ottawa residents are still keen to give him the key to the city, though only if he agrees to accept it rectally.")
Anyway, it's not a defence, but Alanah McGinley at Kukla's Korner has an all-things-considered post on the whole mess that reasonable-minded Senators fans ought to read.
"... most of the rhetoric floating around seems to go off the charts.Point being, it's a little much to hear people making statements such as, "He's hurting the city's reputation." Hurting the city's reputation is supposed to be Larry O'Brien's job ... at least for the next couple weeks.
"And why? Well, the justification for this is clear, we're told. First, Heatley went public with his desire to leave Ottawa. Next, he turned down a possible
escapetrade to Edmonton, making the situation infinitely worse.
"However, being that I’m willing to give Heatley the benefit of the doubt, I’m also willing to believe in at least the possibility that there were other factors at play in the choices he’s made in the last few weeks. After all, it wasn't so long ago that a goalie named Ray Emery was in the hot seat, getting blamed for all the destruction around him as his once-mighty Senators took an abrupt and unexplainable plummet into the crapper. And back then, everyone whispered all sorts of unsubstantiated and shocking gossip blaming Emery for the team’s fortunes.
"But then Emery left and seems to have done reasonably well since then. And yet Ottawa is still... Ottawa.
"So isn’t it remotely possible — just an tiny bit possible — that the problems in Ottawa might have more to do with the Senators organization itself than any one player? If so, then maybe Dany Heatley's comments to Darren Dreger last night, implying he felt he was getting deliberately screwed around by the team, are at least reasonable from his point of view. (Not that I have any reason to believe he was, simply that I'm no more likely to let the Senators off the hook than I am to let Heatley off for this mess.)
"On the other hand, Heatley is the one that made this public and that wanted out of a contract that HE willingly signed in the first place, so he has plenty of fault in this no matter what. And I’m not saying the Senators are the 'bad guys' in this drama, either. Only that we don’t necessarily know the whole story. And since Heatley strikes me as a reasonably smart guy able to anticipate he'd look pretty bad in all this, I can only assume he felt he had good reasons to take this path.
"Whatever the truth, it seems likely there's far more back-story to this than simply 'Dany Heatley is an evil psycho,' and everyone's sanctimonious moaning about how terribly Heatley has treated the 'poor Ottawa Senators' strikes me as an infantile over-reaction. At the end of the day, it's just business, and conflicts aren't unheard of in business, especially given the amounts of money at stake.
"... until some clever and gutsy Ottawa hockey journalist writes a tell-all book about Heatley and/or the Senators, I'm reserving judgment."
Meantime, LeBrun's column is a pretty balanced take on the ramifications of Heatley killing a trade. Freudian slip fans will note he refers to the Ottawa media as "the Senators' media," which is odd. Self-serving though it might be, agent J.P. Barry told LeBrun the Senators kind of screwed themselves:
"I specifically told (Bryan Murray) two days ago, long before the trade happened, 'Do not trade him to Edmonton until you have other options.' And he turned around and consummated the trade despite my request. The result of which is that I get a phone call from a guy that I really respect in Steve Tambellini, who was excited, and I had to inform him what happened.Meantime, fans have a right to be livid. They also have an option to play it smart and unlike the option Heatley had, it doesn't involve having to pack for Edmonton. Bonus! Oh, sorry, shouldn't use that word.
"I think it was completely mishandled by (Murray). It was a pressure tactic. He loaded up the gun and put the gun against our heads."
"We advised Bryan continually that Dany requires more than one option (team) to make a decision and, as of last night, we still only had one option, so he still wasn't able to make a decision, given that there still was only one option in front of him."
Remember, we're all in this together.
As a post-script, Down Goes Brown imagined how a conversation between Heatley and Oilers president Kevin Lowe might have unfolded:
"Lowe: Now, just so I'm clear on your side of things, you're demanding a trade because...
Heatley: ... because I can't spend another day in Ottawa. I'm miserable beyond any measure of human understanding. Every day I spend in Ottawa is the worst of my life, and the only joy I find is in the knowledge that every day wasted in that god forsaken town brings me one day closer to the icy relief of death.
Lowe: I see. And you're not waiving your no-trade clause because...
Heatley: ... all that still sounds better than spending the winter in Edmonton."