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Heatley talks, Murray responds and I draw conclusions

August 21, 2009, 6:40 PM ET [ Comments]

For those that missed the conference call......

From Sunmedia

Question: When did you decide you wanted out of Ottawa?

“It’s not something that I woke up one day and came out of bed and said I was ready to ask for a trade. I think it’s been brewing probably for a long time. I waited until after the season to really be sure. I really thought about it at that time. I think the middle of May I indicated to the Senators that I’d like to be traded.”

Question: Regarding the Edmonton portion of the summer, what about your refusal to go to the Oilers, and does you have anything he say to Edmonton?

“Yeah, it has nothing to do with Edmonton personally. I think when we asked for a trade and we started talking about all the options … that would only be one option. At the time the one option was Edmonton and we weren’t ready to make a decision. We still aren’t ready to make a decision until there are other options.

“We had a lot of talks, I’m pretty sure I talked with Steve and Kevin. Again, Edmonton is a great hockey city and it has nothing to do with the city of Edmonton.”

Question: On the reason why you asked for a trade. Is it Cory Clouston?

“I think the main reason, it’s definitely not Cory solely. I think the main reason for me is when I signed in Ottawa a few years ago I felt I was going to be an integral part on the team. I think over the last few years and more recently over the past year I think my role has diminished. I think especially the last season it diminished a lot more.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Again, the diminished role was the biggest thing. I think I’m a player who can play in a lot of different situations. I am 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.”

Question: Do you feel your actions have had a negative impact on Edmonton and Ottawa, keeping them on hold before refusing the trade?

“I definitely disagree with how it became public. That’s the main reason it has become such a huge story. Again, I don’t know how it became public. I know that we asked for a trade verbally at the end of May. The Senators asked for a letter asking for a trade in writing the beginning of June. We know we gave them that letter and a few days after that it became public. I regret the way it’s been this summer, it’s been a tough summer and it hasn’t been fair, especially to Edmonton and Ottawa, but that’s the way it went.”

Question: Are you surprised a deal could not be made? And what about your reputation, which has taken a hit?

“No, I think anyone who has ever played with me knows I am a team guy. Again, the way this has gone this summer it has been unfortunate but as far as my reputation anyone I’ve ever played with has always thought of me as a team player and a good teammate.”

Question: Did you not feel you owed an explanation to Senators fans after the trade request became public? Why the long silence?

“I think first of all I love the fans in Ottawa, I think it’s a great city, that’s why I signed long term there. The reason I didn’t speak until now is simply because there is a process that has to take place. In all fairness to Ottawa and the other teams involved I didn’t feel it was necessary or served a purpose to come out publicly and create more of a circus than it already was. It’s unfortunate again that it became public. It’s not what I wanted. The main reason is not to complicate things, and out of respect to the teams involved.”

Question: Did your family support your silence?
“My family has been here all summer and they’ve supported me all summer.”

Question: Bryan Murray continues to try and make a trade happen, but at some point he will have to contact your camp and discuss your return if a deal is not finalized. Is that in the cards for you and how difficult would that be?

“Well, I have a contract and I will honour that contract. If I am still a Senator at training camp time I will be there ready to go. I am a hockey player and I am going to play to the best of my abilities wherever I am. But at the same time I think we know there’s other teams out there that are interested and hopefully something will get done.”

Question: After asking for a trade out of Atlanta, and now out of Ottawa, do you wonder if questions about character and stability are affecting the Senators’ ability to get a trade done?

“Again I think I’ve been on a lot of teams, with Team Canada, I’ve played with a lot of different players and played for a lot of different coaches. I think everyone I’ve played with or played for knows I’m a team guy, knows I am a good teammate. I don’t worry about that, I don’t worry about the questions of my character. The 2 trades have been totally different circumstances. Coming out of Atlanta, it was a life decision, it was an off-ice thing. This trade is totally hockey and I think there’s two different trades there.”

Question: Why do you think it’s taken so long for the Senators to move you, a player of your calibre?

“I don’t know. I am confident, I think, that something can get done. Again the request stands and I know there are teams out there that are interested and I’d like something to happen.”

Question: How do you feel about the owners doing what they could to court you to Edmonton? Were you ever close to saying ‘let’s make this trade happen?’

“I thought we had some good talks with Steve and Kevin. It was nothing to do with Edmonton, it has everything to do with what I said at the start of the trade, I’ve always wanted options. I need some options in order to make the right decision.”

Question: Why is Edmonton not the option? And how do you feel about your public perception, which has taken a bit of a beating this summer.

“I know hockey fans in Canada are passionate. I love that about Canadian hockey fans, I love playing for Canada, I love playing in Canada. Again it has nothing to do with Edmonton, it has everything to do with options. That’s the bottom line, to this date there has only been one option and I know there’s other teams out there.”

Question: But, why not Edmonton?

“Again, it was because it was the only option. It comes back to the start. 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.”

Question: Edmonton was never really an option?

“They were not on our initial list that I gave the Senators to talk to and again, when that trade came up it came as a big surprise. I wasn’t ready at that time, nor am I now to make that decision.”

Question: If you return, will you be willing to give up the Assistant Captain’s A?

“I’ll be at camp if I’m still a Senator and I’ll be ready to go.”

Question: You signed what was, at the time, the biggest contract in Senators history. What do you have to say to the fans about being honoured with that contract, and then deciding that you want to move on?

“This has nothing to do with the contract. This is a straight hockey decision. Again, I have nothing against the fans in Ottawa or the city of Ottawa. This is my feeling of a diminished role playing hockey and I’d like an opportunity to go somewhere else where I can play to the best of my capabilities and be the player that I can be. “

Question: Just wondering if you can try to characterize the last conversation you had with Cory Clouston. Would you say it was tense, or was there any sort of disconnect between you and Cory?

“I wouldn’t say it was tense. I think it was open. I think I gave him my thoughts and my feelings and my opinions and he gave me his.”


For those that have just skipped over the transcript, here's a summary.
NOTE: This is my personal take on what he said.

I basically wanted out of Ottawa since I signed the contract.

I love the fans but they don't need to know what I've been doing.

I love playing for Team Canada, I love Canadian fans, I love playing in Canada, however I don't really want to play for a Canadian Club

I said no to Edmonton because I need more options, there's more options, I know teams want me.

I'm a great player all my teammates that I refused to talk to will say I'm great.

I talked to lots of Sens over the summer, like Schubert, Spezza and......and....I talked to lots of teammates, just the ones I wanted to talk to.

There more options, teams want but Bryan Murray isn't working hard enough.

I can do more than score, I can do it all and I want the opportunity to do that, without being actually responsible for it.

I highly recommend listening to the press call with Bryan Murray that Ek has posted here.


Quick points -

- For Dany to come back, he will need to mend the fences with the players. It is possible for him to still be the Assistant Captain if he truly wants it.

- Frustrated about trade request, will continue to try to find a trade that works for both Ottawa and Heatley.

- Not sure if Heatley is being mislead but the teams suggested by Heatley's camp to be interested where not fully interested, money was there or players weren't available as suggested.

- If there was ever an adequate trade that would make Heatley happy and the club happy.

- Until camp starts, Murray, Clouston and the players won't decide who will be the Alternate captains. Still possible for Heatley to have the A.

- Because of contract, trade scenarios are very limited.

- Dany's list is filled with higher end teams stacked with contracts already.

- Has talked to a GM as recent as yesterday. Waiting to see if they will step-up offers.

- Still have the time to make the trade.

- Unsure if the he will move Heatley during the season, depends on a lot of variables

- Only 1 of the 3 teams currently involved are taking a serious approach but still need to step up.

- Heatley won't have options like he thinks, Murray figures if he can find one more acceptable trade then that’s it for Heatley.

Its a lot to take in for today.

I'm left wondering has Heatley's response today improved anyone’s perception of Heatley?

(If you have problems downloading the audio from Bryan Murray's conference call, e-mail me and I'll send them to you. Remember - right-click and save as)

Also how amazing is NHL 10's demo? Its amazing how noticable the changes/add-ons are. I'll leave the review to Ek, but if anyone works at EA or knows someone there, get me an advance copy and I'll review/beta test the hell out of it!

Mark Christopher
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