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Howdy from Ottawa.

Hindsight is 20/20. It is real easy to critize an athlete or management after the fact. But quotes are that one little caveet that helps us draw the line from past to present. Here is one from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

"There's no question he'll be back next year. Bryan's done a great job," Melnyk said. "The way you judge a good GM is the way he recognizes a problem and acts on it....I'll give him a mulligan. He recognized a change was required. Think about it. He signed up Cory and look where we are today."

That was 'today' in April and Cory Clouston just signed a two-year deal. It's now June and today Sens GM Bryan Murray is taking offers for star forward Dany Heatley. We'll just give him a mulligan.

Look folks, I am not one who supports the needs of star players whom feel the need to have a say in hirings and firings. However this case is different as former Ottawa coaches John Paddock and Craig Hartsburg were victims of poor play and star players disliking them. The Senators just didn't get branded 'coach killers'...they earned it. So with it being the case that the inmates have in the past made their case why said coaches should be given pink slips, then why all of a sudden is another 'unpopular' coach ushered in through the door?

Through no fault of Cory Clouston, it seems quite likely he is the reason Heatley wants out of Ottawa. Clouston is what he is and Murray bought it for 2 years. Heatley and Clouston had a known rift (and who knows what else) in February, to which both sides down played. Clouston said at the time Dany had 'a ways to go' in adapting to his style of read and react hockey, which is a far cry from wing-lock coverages and trapping styles Hartsburg had just instituted months earlier. But Cory always contended that him and Heater saw 'eye to eye'. For Heatley's part he said of the rift "We're obviously on the same page". Yeah right. Weeks later Heater had his ice time cut and was demoted to the 2nd PP unit.

Heatley has always said he enjoyed playing in hockey-mad Ottawa as it helped raise his game. He has however disliked the media attention, unless of course it was positive. And he rarely got anything positive after last season's diaster...$10 mil. for 39 goals doesn't cut it. Factor in a lack of effort mentioned by two coaches and a general manager plus sports writers who watch him nightly and Dany would have been feeling the pressure. Hence why he wants out west. He wants the Joe Thornton treatment...make the big bucks, yet still live in anonmity because he can't handle the pressure.

So is it Heatley vs Clouston or Heatley vs Self? Is this whole Clouston-thing a front for something else? I believe so. To be blunt, Dany Heatley is running away again. Like he ran from Atlanta when things got rough, like he is running now off a horrible season. Is he best friends with Clouston? No. But is the coach the real reason Dany see's fit to tell the team that just gave him a long-term deal to now trade him? No.

GM Bryan Murray deserves some of the blame for this mess, and how he handles it now should make or break his tenure as the Sens GM. You can't let the players decide when to fire the coach but not let them decide who to hire. It's either all or nothing. To me it looks like Bryan has ticked off both Heatley and Spezza and while I'm sure Sens Country will say the hell to both of them, the hard reality is then who will want to play here? Remember the days when this organization was a model for others? Hindsight is 20/20.

Colin Jeffrey


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Filed Under:   ottawa senators   nhl  
June 10, 2009 9:35 PM ET | Delete
Bryan Murray is a deuchbag!! Since his arrival, the sens have been going down the drain!!! I wouldn't be surprised if he dealt Heatley for shit!! Maybe not but, I hope he's intelligent enough to wait on a big deal. If I were him I'd try to make a trade to the Sharks for Thornton or a 2 player deal like Cheechoo and Marleau.
June 11, 2009 9:36 AM ET | Delete
I don't see San Jose as a good trade partner... Heater with Thornton or Marleau would be amazing, but one of those guys would have to go the other way, and Ottawa doesn't need another center... I say don't count out Carolina... I think Rutherford would be VERY interested in a Ruutu-Staal-Heatley first line...
June 11, 2009 10:31 AM ET | Delete
Loved the Melnyk quote, completly agree with you. If a trade happens with San Jose for Thornton you'd have to think Spezza comes in to play (centre for a centre). If Heatley picks and chooses with his NT clause that takes alot of options out.. This is Heatley vs. self, whatever happens we better get something good.
June 11, 2009 2:43 PM ET | Delete
I agree that 39 goals for 10 mil doesn't cut it but from his point of view maybe he could have had 10 more with first line pp time hey? Anyway from all acounts he wants to go to the west, closer to home and that could mean Calgary (home town) Edmonton, Vancouver, Minni, and La who all have room for him right now in addition what goes back could greatly affect more teams getting involved including San Jose but as I see it the sharks were so dominant last year that I can't see them tweeking too much.
June 11, 2009 5:01 PM ET | Delete
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