July 02 2009 11:45AM
On behalf of the City of Edmonton and Oilers fans around the world, a big thank you goes out to Dany Heatley for the 1,438,983rd kick to the nuts in recent memory.
Our phone was blowing up all the live long day yesterday with people lamenting “oh this Heatley business is the worst thing that has ever happened. It’s Chris Pronger all over again. No one wants to play here. It’s all over. At best all we will be able to do is ice an AHL team. At worst the Oilers will have to relocate because they can’t get anyone to play here.”
Read our lips everyone:
Get fucking real.
Everyone needs to collectively shake this off immediately and get some sense back in our heads.
Every single hockey related decision cannot be treated as a direct blow to our cumulative civic pride. Dany Heatley didn’t just make this a bad city. He didn’t just knock 15 grand off the value of your house or add 8 new traffic lights on your drive into work. This isn’t about having bad weather or a lack of shopping or something equally lame that has caused some multimillionaire athlete to want to play elsewhere in the past. If this was a simple Nylander-esque slap to the face we would be a bit more concerned for the prospects of the Oil.
No, this is something much stranger, much more sinister.
This sounds like a guy who is batshit crazy
Our man Daniel Heatley here is a guy who is already dealing with Britney Spears circa 2008 level of head case-ity to begin with. Let’s recap shall we? Demanding a trade is a sticky business at the best of times. Letting your agent do all the talking in the media and forcing your current team's hand is classy at best. Letting your neighbour speak on your behalf is some kind of insanity all too often seen amongst "athletes with talent but don't fulfill their promise due to being a headcase but usually get away with it." Indicating that you would be willing to play in Edmonton and then later squashing the deal is virtually unheard of even by these same standards.
The problem here isn’t the City of Edmonton, the Northern Climate, West Edmonton Mall or the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. This is a Dany Heatley problem. Go read some of the articles about it in Ottawa if you don't believe us:
“Here was a case of a player WANTING to be traded, but still holding say in his destination. And this is where Heatley's escape plan fell apart, like the friendly neighbourhood bank robber holding millions in his meaty hands, only to see his get-away car towed from a no-parking zone. In theory, it was fine for Heatley to draw up his dream list of destinations. He could imagine himself as a Los Angeles King or a Vancouver Canuck, a San Jose Shark or a New York Ranger. When his wish dwindled down to the Rangers, and then the Ranger offer was pulled off the table, this was what remained: A single offer from a club not among the Chosen Ones. The Edmonton Oilers, desperate for a big-time shooter like Heatley to ignite a powder dry offence, had put a significant package together. So, what to do, Dany? Go to Edmonton, with Oil management and players begging you to jump in, the water's fine? Or take the risk that Murray, if forced to pay that $4 million after midnight, never finds another deal he considers fair and tells you to show up at Ottawa's training camp? This was Heatley's Sophie's Choice as the clock approached midnight and the Oilers put on a full-court press to woo him.”
See? There isn’t a single mention of Pronger, Lupul, Comrie or of Edmonton being a craphole. The consensus seems to be that the problem lies in Heatley’s court. For the life of us we cannot figure out why the citizens of the OilersNation are always the first ones to line up and torture ourselves with bigger issues of identity and self worth time and time again.
This is a guy who was already hated in Ottawa before he took it to a whole new level of insanity:
"Dany's parents (Murray and Karin) dropped over to our place the other day," Molloy said by telephone from Calgary. "They said, 'Everyone is crucifying Dany.' His mother is very upset. And the attacks are all personal stuff, about his character."
And now? After all of these shenanigans? Let’s take a gander at another article in the Ottawa Citizen:
“As usual, the Oilers come out of this looking just a little bit sad. They had arguably the league’s best defenceman at the time, Chris Pronger, walk out on them because his wife didn’t like the weather. Then Michael Nylander apparently agrees to play for the Oil before bolting to Washington, apparently because his wife didn’t like the city either. But hey, Heatley isn’t married, so no problem, right? Yes, still a problem. Now the Oilers are once again playing the part of the loser in a lopsided relationship, sucking up to Heatley because they think he’s too good for them anyways. This, despite the knowledge that he could turn around and do the same thing to them that he’s doing to the Senators right now. There will be a point at which Heatley’s actions so poison everyone’s opinion of him that he becomes untradeable, even to the Edmonton Oilers. He and his agents should be asking themselves what comes next if they don’t accept this deal. Sit out and not get paid at all? Come back to Ottawa to play, only to be booed every time his hyper-expensive toe touches the ice? And the Edmonton Oilers should be asking themselves why they want to make this deal at all”
"Untradeable, even to the Edmonton Oilers?" When exactly did we become "that team?" We aren't the Kansas City Royals or the Los Angeles Clippers. We aren't the laughing stock of the league or a Franchise that won't ever win again. We are a hotbed of hockey with an extraordinarily passionate fan base, committed gajillionaire owner and a boatload of potential.
And we need to start acting like it again.
We don’t know about you, but this might be a good time to collectively stand up and decide we are no longer the weak sister of the league. We are no longer small market - with our balling owner flinging hojillions of dollars around from a solid gold Lear Jet. We are no longer the Oilers Alumni network - with Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini (all elite coaching and management types) tickling the ivories on our behalf. The first step to becoming a powerhouse is to decide mentally you are capable of being great. Living life with a permanent dark cloud of "it's cold here, we are screwed" hanging over this great City ain't it kids. At some point we have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and rebuild the pride that was a hallmark of this team.
We could personally give two squirts of whizz if Heatley comes to this team anymore. Sure he is a prolific goal scorer and all the rest. But he is also seemingly the biggest prick around, or possibly certifiably insane. We would rather Dustin Penner, who at the least is just lazy. And we'd also like it if everyone could just get an ounce of swagger back in their stride. That would be great too.
Go to it Tambo, Lowe, Katz, Renney, Quinn and the other 1,205 people who are probably madder than any of us can imagine today. We are squarely behind you and we salute your efforts. But don't kiss the ass of a loser. We don't need to become the desperate chick at the dance who will go home with anyone on the football team. We are much too good to become her.
Oh and to all the people who knew why Pronger left town but decided to sit on the story? Thanks for that wise decision. It's still paying dividends around the league.