Heatley return won't distract our focus, Alfredsson says
|Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson says the team's goals remain the same this season, whether or not Dany Heatley is in their lineup (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images).|
That is, doing what it takes to get back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Some might suggest that could be easier said than done if forward Dany Heatley, who has requested a trade, is still with the Senators and joins the rest of his teammates for the opening day of training camp on Sept. 12. But after a summer filled with Heatley chatter, Alfredsson said everyone on hand is ready for the media frenzy that would accompany his return.
"It will be (a distraction), a little bit," the Senators captain told the media earlier today after taking part in an informal skate with some of his teammates at the Bell Sensplex. "But at the same time, I don't think it's going to change our goals and our objectives. It's not something we'll use an excuse if we get off to a slow start.
"But if (Heatley) comes back, obviously there's going to be a lot of attention and a lot of focus. Whatever happens in practice... if somebody hits him or something occurs, it's going to be blown out of proportion. But we've been reading and hearing about this all summer and we're prepared."
Senators general manager Bryan Murray hasn't yet called off his attempt to trade Heatley, which have proven fruitless since the forward first made his trade request in May. But Alfredsson said if he starts the season in Ottawa, Heatley will need to do some fence-mending with his teammates.
"We're still a week away and a lot of things can happen," said Alfredsson. "But if it comes to that, you can't just (sweep) it under the rug and go on. You have to address the situation. We'll do that if that's the case next week.
"It's not the ideal situation but it's something that can be worked out, I guess. He does help our team if he plays, no question. If anything happens during the season or Bryan decides he's going to stay for the whole year... who knows what' s going to happen? As players, we can't really make those decisions. We take what we have and make the best of it. That's something we'll work out as it comes along."
Heatley's desire to be traded isn't something Alfredsson believes his teammates should take personally.
"It's a personal decision by him," said Alfredsson. "He's a good person and he's been a good teammate. It's unfortunate that it did go this way because we were hoping he'd be a part of us turning things around. But he's a grown-up man, he makes his own decisions and I don't think it's anything against us players personally. It is unfortunate."
Senators trade brings Bailey home
In an exchange of minor-league forward prospects, the Senators today sent Shawn Weller to the Anaheim Ducks for Jason Bailey.
An Ottawa native, Bailey was the Ducks' third-round pick (63rd overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He played two seasons NCAA hockey at the University of Michigan before returning home to join the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's in 2007-08. Bailey spent most of last season with the Bakersfield Condors of the East Coast Hockey League.
Bailey will be on hand at Scotiabank Place on Saturday for the opening of the Senators' annual rookie camp.