Heatley: 'I'll honour my contract'
High-scoring forward says he'll give Sens his best if trade can't be made
|While Dany Heatley says his trade request "still stands," the forward says he'll "be there ready to go" if he is still an Ottawa Senator when the team's training camp opens on Sept. 12 at Scotiabank Place (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
But if the high-scoring forward is still property of the Ottawa Senators when the team opens its 2009-10 training camp on Sept. 12, he promises he'll give his all for the "passionate" hockey fans in the nation's capital.
"I have a contract and I’ll honour that contract," Heatley said on a media conference call earlier today from his off-season home in Kelowna, B.C. "If I’m still a Senator at training camp time, I’ll be there ready to go. I’m a hockey player and I’m going to play to the best of my ability wherever I am.
"But at the same time, I think we know there are other teams out there that are interested and I hope something can get done."
Heatley and his representatives, Stacey McAlpine and J.P. Barry, informed Senators general manager Bryan Murray in May of his desire to be moved to another National Hockey League team. The two-time 50-goal scorer reiterated today that the trade request "still stands."
While much of the speculation for that request has surrounded his relationship with Senators head coach Cory Clouston, Heatley made it clear the reasons for his decision surround what he termed a "diminished role" on the team since he signed a six-year contract extension in October 2007.
"The main reason is definitely not (solely about) Cory," he said. "I think for me, the main reason is that when I signed in Ottawa a few years ago, I felt there was an opportunity to be an integral part of the team. Over the last two years and more recently, over the past year, I feel that my role has diminished. Especially this past season, it diminished a lot more.
"It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. The diminished role was the big thing. I feel I’m a player that can play in a lot of different situations. I’m an offensive guy but I take pride in all aspects of the game and I don’t feel I was given that role on the team."
Murray believed he had a deal in place on June 30 to send Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid. But Heatley invoked his no-trade clause to block the deal and said today he is still waiting for the Senators to present him with more trade options to consider.
"I’ve always wanted options and I think I need options to make the right decision," he said. "That’s the bottom line. To this date, there has only been one option and we know there are other teams out there (that might be interested).
"I don’t feel I can make the right decision until there are a few options and I can make the proper decision for myself and my career."
"That’s not what I wanted," said Heatley. "I regret the way it’s been this summer. It’s been a tough summer and it hasn’t been fair to especially Edmonton and Ottawa, but that’s the way it went.
"I love the fans in Ottawa ... (but) this is a straight hockey decision. I have nothing against the fans in Ottawa or the city of Ottawa. It was my feeling of a diminished role playing hockey and I’d like an opportunity to go somewhere where I can play to the best of my capabilities and be the player that I can be."
Whether he winds up back in Ottawa or moves elsewhere, Heatley is certain his teammates will continue to regard him in a positive light.
"The way this has gone this summer has been unfortunate," he said. "But as far as my reputation, I think anybody I’ve ever played with or played for has always thought of me as a team player and a good teammate.
"I don’t worry about questions about my character."
Heatley will be among 46 players in attendance at Hockey Canada's summer orientation camp for its Vancouver 2010 Olympic team, which begins Monday at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary.
"I'm excited and look forward to being in Calgary and fighting for a spot on the (Olympic) team," he said.