July 14 2009 11:11AM
“Oil trade for Dany still alive” proclaims the Ottawa Sun, “but it could be slammed shut soon”.
Why (or perhaps "for the love of all that is good and holy why can't this be over already"), you ask ? Because, according to journalist Chris Stevenson, “an NHL source indicated yesterday the Oilers' patience is wearing thin to have Heatley agree to a deal and they could give up and move on perhaps as early as today.”
No doubt this would be welcome news to some – even many – Oilers fans, but I wouldn’t get too excited about it just yet, because of a Dan Barnes article we talked about a few days ago. Quoting Barnes:
The source also said the Oilers had not imposed an internal deadline for a firm resolution of this ridiculously untenable situation. Nor had they communicated such an ultimatum to the Senators or Heatley. That rumour had been floated last week by a TV analyst and at least one Internet site. "Could be a week, could be a month," said the source.
That was three days ago.
So, when two anonymous league sources are reported as saying two conflicting things, which is to be believed? It’s up to everyone individually of course, but given that it’s an Edmonton rumour I think it would be foolish not to trust the Edmonton-based (and Edmonton-connected) reporter on this one. It’s possible that the situation has drastically shifted over those three days, but Barnes’ source seems to rule out a sudden shift like that – certainly not one that would see the Oilers abandon the pursuit a few days later (“possibly as early as today”, according to Stevenson).
Stevenson also includes this factoid:
Rumours are there are at least two other teams which have recently held discussions with Senators GM Bryan Murray but have only offered bloated contracts and underachieving players in return.
Dan Barnes also mentioned two teams, so we can view this information as probably true. Barnes said they hadn’t finalized an offer, while Stevenson says that they aren’t offering much of value – which sounds to me like two different ways of saying the same thing.
The last part of Stevenson’s piece that I’d like to look at is not to criticize him, but just to highlight the difficulty of sorting through rumours in general. Here’s the quote:
Speculation is the Minnesota Wild remains a team looking for an offensive addition and the Columbus Blue Jackets have been named in connection with the unhappy winger.
Stevenson is careful to couch all of his paragraphs so that it’s clear he’s passing along speculation, and in this case we can be fairly certain that the speculation is inaccurate, because of what Columbus GM Scott Howson said to Dan Tencer a few days ago:
"We're not involved in that scene. It's an unfortunate situation for everybody involved."
In other words, for better and worse, I continue to believe that the Oilers are ardent in their pursuit of Heatley, despite today’s conflicting report from Stevenson.