Dany Heatley is undeniably one of the NHL's brightest stars today but underneath the prolific goal scoring ability, great size, and deceptive speed, there lies a disgruntled young man.
So disgruntled in fact, that on June 9, 2009, Heatley filed a request for a trade from the team that had just signed him to a lucrative six-year contract in 2007.
The Ottawa Senators.
With the news of Heatley's trade request hitting media outlets like a hurricane, the 28-year-old winger suddenly became the talk of the hockey world with many different scenarios being played out as to where he may end up being traded to, all topped off with a list of 10 teams that Heatley was willing to play for.
I'll admit, at first I was ecstatic to hear about the availability of such an offensive talent and like most people excited to have heard their team on Heatley's list, I took some time to contemplate what scenario would have him in a Vancouver Canucks uniform.
But with the dust settling now and things seeming to be winding down as to where Heatley may go, I find myself repulsed with the idea of having him in the line-up as member of a hockey team.
It's not because of his hefty contract or the reality of having to part with other quality players to make room for him. Or because of last season being his least productive since before the lockout. And it's not because of anything that Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke said.
It's because of something Ron Hextall said. Hextall, the retired goaltender who is now the assistant GM of the Los Angeles Kings, said some words that set me straight.
He talked about the fact that not only does Heatley have a no-trade clause but he also wants to pick where he wants to go. He mentioned Heatley having problems with his coach when he played for the Atlanta Thrashers and as well problems with two coaches in Ottawa.
And even though Hextall clearly stated that what the Kings biggest need is a high-scoring left winger, a void that Heatley would easily fill, and the team being on his list of desired teams, he said that he doubts they're willing to give up a package of players and prospects in exchange for the former Calder Memorial Trophy winner.
Talk about sticking to your guns.
Whatever it was, even if Hextall was just making up reasons to ease fans into letting them know they didn't want to take on Heatley's contract, the things that he said during that press conference stuck with me and made me question Heatley's integrity as a professional hockey player and as a human being.
Like Hextall said, requesting a trade from Atlanta was understandable under the circumstances with everything that had happened with the horrific car accident that claimed the life of his teammate, 25-year-old Dan Snyder.
I get it.
However, signing a a long-term deal in Ottawa, having problems with both Craig Hartsburg and Cory Clouston and then asking for a trade to one of ten places has to raise some concern as to what kind of person Heatley is.
Again, Heatley's pure talent for hockey is not in doubt here but what is in doubt is his commitment and dedication for the team which plays for.
Who's to say that if things go awry with his new team that he won't ask for another trade and another until somebody realizes that teams shouldn't have to accommodate the player, the player should accommodate the team.
Somewhere amidst the rumours and speculation, I starting thinking about how Heatley could gallop in on his white horse and bring a Stanley Cup to my beloved team and forgot what it meant to be a part of a team.
A cooperative unit.
And if there's one thing that the stats won't show is that though Heatley may score a lot of goals, his latest stunt to get out of Ottawa has shown that he has a big zero in the team player column which counts for a lot more than any amount of points in my books.
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