Amid yet another rumour-proven-false involving disgruntled Ottawa Senator Dany Heatley, it's time to assess this situation for what it is: futile in the short-term, potentially lucrative in the long-term for Ottawa.
The fact is, the time to trade Heatley was several months ago at the outset of his trade request.
When that didn't happen, Ottawa sports writers and bloggers could probably have put away the keyboards until the cold hits the air and the snow covers the Canal.
That's right: February.
With Heatley committing himself to the Sens' lineup if he isn't traded by training camp (likely to preserve his Olympic bid), the pressure on Ottawa to deal him subsides, knowing he will show up and play.
By the end of February, two things will have happened: the Olympics will be over, and the Sens' will know if they are a Cup-contending team.
If the Sens' are a championship contender, they'll keep him. Heatley, seeing the potential to win a Cup this early in his career, would likely stay under such a situation.
If, as many may believe, Ottawa still isn't a contender by the end of February, the leverage Bryan Murray will be able to exact on other teams will be higher than at any other point in this entire saga.
If you're a Cup contender, the chance to land a two-time 50-goal scorer—and have him under contract for several more years—is too tantalizing to pass up as you approach the trade deadline.
As the ugly girl to the dance, Ottawa would find itself with a number of interested suitors at that point in the season.
As a veteran of the business side of the NHL, Bryan Murray knows where he stands now.
Very little can be gained at this point, especially when both sides want to avoid distractions, regardless of how large the elephant is in the room.
Is this all set in stone?
Not by any means.
But, considering both sides have had a whole summer to think about the issues, it is definitely a possibility, and in this scribe's humble opinion, the probable one.
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