Limbo: spin to come?

Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009 03:43PM

heatleys-choice

By keeping quiet and not saying "no" to the Edmonton Oilers, Dany Heatley has left himself an out should he run out of options and end up having to shake hands with GM Steve Tambellini.

Having asked the Ottawa Senators for a trade, only to refuse to waive his no-movement clause in subsequent days after Tambellini and Ottawa GM Bryan Murray put together a package that would've shipped Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid to the Sens, Heatley's taken his fair share of abuse.

Heatley did, after all, rebuff Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe when they jetted to Kelowna to meet with him. That inflamed Oilers fans and caused more than a few commentators, myself included, to suggest it's for the best. I stand by that.

But what Heatley hasn't done through any of this is unequivocally say, "No" to the Oilers, to the trade, to the city. He hasn't made any firm decision and has avoided any statement on the situation.

That's his out. Should Heatley realize he has no other options, and with a return to Ottawa not in the cards now that Alexei Kovalev has been signed by the Senators, I suspect we'll be reminded of that if, in the next, say, 48 hours, he reluctantly gives Tambellini's deal his blessing.

The spin will begin.

Let me sleep on it

I can envision the Heatley news conference now...

TAMBELLINI: "We're very happy to announce we've acquired Dany Heatley from the Ottawa Senators. Dany is a great player and his resume both in the NHL and international play is stellar. This wasn't an easy deal to get done, but trades of this magnitude take time. We're very happy."

HEATLEY: "I'm extremely happy to be a member of the Edmonton Oilers. This is a storied franchise with a proud and successful history and I can't say how thrilled I am to be a part of it."

REPORTER: "Dany, what took so damn long?"

HEATLEY: "Decisions of this scope take a lot of thought. I didn't want to rush into anything. I wanted to be sure. It wasn't so much looking at other options as it was a matter of making sure Edmonton would be right for me and I'd be right for Edmonton. Remember, I never said no to Mr. Tambellini, I just didn't say yes."

REPORTER: "So you weren't waiting for a trade offer from the New York Rangers or the Los Angeles Kings?"

HEATLEY: "Those are great cities and great franchises as well, but, in the end, Edmonton was the best option. I'm very happy to be an Oiler."

Moving on

You know my thoughts on Heatley, so there's no need to regurgitate them yet again. The more I think about the situation, especially with the signing of Kovalev, the more I can see it unfolding this way.

I don't see other options for Heatley, at least not options that will be acceptable to Murray. That leaves me with the sneaking suspicion we could very well see Heatley bite his lip and polish his spin in preparation for an announcement this deal is done.

Those who have wanted Heatley all along will rejoice. Those who've cast a wary glance Heatley's way since the trade was leaked will continue to give him the stink eye. Those who jumped on the "it's a bad idea" bandwagon later on? Who knows what side of the fence they'll come down on.

Say what you want about Heatley, he isn't stupid. While actions should speak louder than words, his silence has left him an out, and the benefit of the doubt, with the people who want him here.

"I'm happy to be an Oiler..."

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Peebos
July 06 2009, 03:49PM
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**Exactly what I was thinking...

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#2 Wanye Gretz
July 06 2009, 03:49PM
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I take this article to mean Dany Heatley is going to be an Oiler.

Sigh.

One side of Wanye's brain: "But how can we really cheer for such a douchebag that is going to sooner or later screw over the team? But what if the only option to improve the team is this move?"

Another side of Wanye's brain: "But how do you cheer against someone who is going to score 40 in his first year here? What if he doesn't sign on at all? Then what?"

Wanye's stomach: "What implications does this have for me? Will there be a delcious donair in my future?"

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#3 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 03:51PM
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Agreed.

Unless another deal all of a sudden popped up, I'd bet Heatly will be here shortly.

Never short of drama in Oil country.

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#4 Murf99
July 06 2009, 03:51PM
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It really is looking more and more like this is the way it will go down. With the Kovalev signing Heatley's options seem to be Edmonton or Binghamton (AHL).

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#5 sittingatmydesk
July 06 2009, 03:53PM
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I hope it happens soon, cant take more of the suspense..its way too painful

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#6 Archaeologuy
July 06 2009, 03:53PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: Sir, there will always be another donair in the future. Perhaps these futuristic donairs will be even better than the olde timey donairs of yore.

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#7 patty
July 06 2009, 03:53PM
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@ obin Brownlee: Do you think the players packaged up will change at all? Murray said it had to since the $4 was paid, but that was probably posturing on his end. Isn't his position even weaker now than yesterday with Kovalev signed?

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#8 patty
July 06 2009, 03:54PM
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awful. my mistake. Sorry Robin.

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#9 Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009, 03:55PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

I take this article to mean Dany Heatley is going to be an Oiler.

Wanye, for somebody missing most of your frontal lobe, you are very perceptive.

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#10 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 03:56PM
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Does the Kovy signing hurt Murray's leverage?

Penner+O'sully+Smid for Heatly?

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#11 Stixaa
July 06 2009, 03:56PM
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Although I'd rather not give up Cogliano and I think Penner and Smid are usefull players I would welcome Heatley even with his baggage... he can score and he seems like he would fit well with the Oilers top unit of Horcoff and Hemsky... let the reign of the Triple H line begin, of course if they don't produce it could be the reign of the Preparation H line. Only the future knows for sure.

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#12 dyckster
July 06 2009, 03:57PM
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Awesome read Robin. A fresh perspective, if/when it's all said and done and Heatley is an Oiler, true hockey fans will forget this nonsense and simply enjoy what this particular player can bring game in and game out.

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#13 Archaeologuy
July 06 2009, 03:57PM
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@ Ogden Brother: I wish...I wish. Me thinks the Oilers havent figured out this bartering thing too well. Why they havent realized that they are the only one at the auction is beyond me.

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#14 BigE57
July 06 2009, 03:58PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Robin, what are the chances or is it even possible that Dany Heatley pulls the same stunt Alexander Radulov pulled on Nashville last year and bolts for the KHL?

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#15 The Towel Boy
July 06 2009, 03:58PM
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The Million Dollar Safeway Score and Win contest on Sportsnet may finally have something to worry about if this deal goes down.

*hopes and waits*

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#16 smiliegirl15
July 06 2009, 04:00PM
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Well hopefully Heatley prints off this article Robin so he knows the right words to say. Tact and diplomacy will go a long way in restoring his shredded reputation.

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#17 Archaeologuy
July 06 2009, 04:00PM
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NHLPA files grievances over BlackHawks RFAs, a few more UFAs come on the market?

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#18 Robin Brownlee
July 06 2009, 04:00PM
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@ BigE57: Can't see Heatley expecting the same dough he's getting here with the struggles the KHL is experiencing. That's just my gut feeling. I don't know if he's considering that as an option or not.

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#19 dyckster
July 06 2009, 04:00PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Does the Kovy signing hurt Murray’s leverage?

They must be very close if not over the cap now. I think it definately reduces the value of the package he can expect in return.

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#20 Deans
July 06 2009, 04:01PM
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I wouldnt be suprised if The Oilers waited a week or two to announce the deal. Let the wounds heal a little bit.

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#21 Step
July 06 2009, 04:02PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

The Million Dollar Safeway Score and Win contest on Sportsnet may finally have something to worry about if this deal goes down. *hopes and waits*

That is true and humourous. Well played.

Good summation Brownlee.

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#22 Prop Jay
July 06 2009, 04:02PM
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Things that make me happy:

-This.

heatley

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#23 misfit
July 06 2009, 04:03PM
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Meh. I'm not convinced aquiring Heatley is the best way to go, though it has more to do with his cap hit and likelyhood to perform to it than with his character.

My biggest concern (by far) is what the heck Tambellini is going to do with the rest of the roster if he does aquire a $7.5M player when he's already over the cap (after signing the RFAs). Never mind the fact that he's still leaving the team's biggest need (at least now that we've got a goalie) unaddressed.

But even though I don't think it's necessarily the best move for the team, I understand why Tambellini is going to do it, and I've accepted the fact that it's ultimately going to happen. No spin neccesary for me. I'll still cheer him on every gameday, and he'll automatically become one of my favorite 23 NHLers.

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#24 Penner's 2nd Chin
July 06 2009, 04:03PM
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I've been on the fence all along. Slightly leaning towards the "f-ck off Heatley" side.

But let me play Devil's advocate here. Consider this scenario.

-Heatley does bites his tongue and signs here. -He, Horcoff, and Hemsky find some chemistry and a Pizza Line 2.0 is born. -The Oilers improve, Heatley likes it here, and around until at least the end of his contract. -Penner continues to be lackluster in Ottawa. -Smid develops into a solid #4-5 defenseman. -Cogliano develops into a solid 3rd line player

Would this not be good for the Oilers? Obviously it would. And it's possible.

The wildcard of course is that even if this were to happen, the Oilers are still in cap hell next year... so who knows.

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#25 Wanye Gretz
July 06 2009, 04:05PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Wanye Gretz wrote: I take this article to mean Dany Heatley is going to be an Oiler. Wanye, for somebody missing most of your frontal lobe, you are very perceptive.

Nonsense. The lobe remains intact it has just been severely damaged from booze and er ... stuff.

Having said all of that I am super conflicted about this deal going through. Which I now take as having gone through because of this article.

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#26 Oil-man-Dan
July 06 2009, 04:07PM
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dyckster wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Does the Kovy signing hurt Murray’s leverage? They must be very close if not over the cap now. I think it definately reduces the value of the package he can expect in return.

Maybe this means Cogs can stay in etown, perhaps a second round pick next year instead. Great read Rubin, I mean Brontee... I mean Mr Brownlee. :)

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#27 Wanye Gretz
July 06 2009, 04:07PM
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@ Penner's 2nd Chin:

This is all very possible. Consider if you will the alternate scenario:

- Heatley arrives here, is a constant distraction, pisses off the other Oilers with his attitude and demands a trade after one season.

How does that risk to an already injured image league wide compare to the upside of a prima donna player who has the skills to back it up?

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#28 misfit
July 06 2009, 04:08PM
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I also think it would be smarter just for Heatley to respond to the “So you weren’t waiting for a trade offer from the New York Rangers or the Los Angeles Kings?” question simply to say that those teams weren't options presented to him and that there's no way to know what he would've done had they been...and that he's happy to be an Oiler, of course.

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#29 Ducey
July 06 2009, 04:09PM
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Does anyone know what the Sens cap is at now? Could they afford to keep Heatley and Kovalev?

I guess the Sens had to do something, but Tambi's position regarding the trade may have just gotten stronger. If Heatley doesn't want to go there AND they can't afford him, they might have to take even less?

Poor Sens fans, they have seen all these great players leave over the years, are left only with an aging Alfi and Jason Spezza, and now they get a last gasp attempt to pull it out of the fire with Kovalev. How long before he has a dispute with the coach over work ethic?

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#30 JB
July 06 2009, 04:10PM
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Holy crap. Choosing to play in the K versus the Oil would be the ultimate two-fisted cock punch to Oilers Nation. Ouch.

Robin, what are the odds of this just happening to satisfy the $4 million question of the bonus, and make the Oilers management team look even more desperate?

To Oilers: Heatley, Chris Kelly To Sens: Penner, Cogs, Smid, Pisani

The $4 million dollar difference is the salary committment moving forward on Kelly versus Pisani's expiring contract. On the bright side Kelly can play 3rd line centre. On the negative side, he kind of sucks.

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#31 Murf99
July 06 2009, 04:10PM
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@ Ogden Brother: Ogden Brother wrote:

Does the Kovy signing hurt Murray’s leverage? Penner+O’sully+Smid for Heatly?

I'm not sure if I am alone in this, but I like Sully better than Cogs. I think he is a slightly bigger body with higher offensive upside.

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#32 dyckster
July 06 2009, 04:11PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Which I now take as having gone through because of this article.

Hah, don't start that again, you've started the bus, let's not toss Robin under it. :)

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#33 Archaeologuy
July 06 2009, 04:13PM
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Murf99 wrote:

I like Sully better than Cogs. I think he is a slightly bigger body with higher offensive upside.

You definitely dont have my support with that statement.

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#34 Jonathan Willis
July 06 2009, 04:14PM
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Despite everything...

Dany Heatley will score between 35 and 50 goals pretty much every season. He'll also (presumably) cure Katz, Lowe, and Tambellini of their obsessive need to land a big-name forward, meaning they can get down to the business of filling the other non-trivial holes this team has.

Also, while there's always the danger of him demanding another trade, as I understand it, once he's dealt his NMC becomes null and void - it applies exclusively to his time in Ottawa - meaning that the Oilers won't be shackled if they're forced to deal him two years from now.

The cost is high, but not prohibitively high for a player of Heatley's calibre, and solves the biggest question (what to do with Penner) that the Oilers were going to face in any attempted LW acquisition.

I hope the deal goes through. Not strongly, because there's a ton of baggage that will come back with him if Heatley does indeed arrive in Edmonton, but enough.

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#35 patty
July 06 2009, 04:14PM
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nhlscap has the sens at 54.75, not including Kovalev, but including Heatley. It's been updated with Neil's new salary so it's pretty up to date.

They've got some shedding to do.

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#36 Rusty Shackleford
July 06 2009, 04:16PM
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*starts making a lovely welcome basket for our new top line winger*

I'd still welcome him even though we'd be giving up quite a bit.

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#37 knobert
July 06 2009, 04:18PM
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What happens if Versteeg becomes a UFA (re: NHLPA grievences), maybe we should go after him?? too bad he is a smallish forward though

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#38 spOILer
July 06 2009, 04:20PM
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I thought the same thing, Robin, when I saw the Kovalev news. We are Dany's out, if crunch comes to crunch.

In other words, if the NHL Bar hits closing time and Dany doesn't yet have a "dance partner", we're the ugly he's going home with at the end of the day.

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#39 Oil_Country
July 06 2009, 04:21PM
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Oh Dany Boy, come to us, Oh Dany Bay.

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#40 swany
July 06 2009, 04:22PM
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JB wrote:

Holy crap. Choosing to play in the K versus the Oil would be the ultimate two-fisted cock punch to Oilers Nation. Ouch. Robin, what are the odds of this just happening to satisfy the $4 million question of the bonus, and make the Oilers management team look even more desperate? To Oilers: Heatley, Chris Kelly To Sens: Penner, Cogs, Smid, Pisani The $4 million dollar difference is the salary committment moving forward on Kelly versus Pisani’s expiring contract. On the bright side Kelly can play 3rd line centre. On the negative side, he kind of sucks.

That 4 mil is NOT a bonus and Daly from the NHL said they wouldn't stand in the way of the team getting Heatley of paying that 4 mil back as it's part of his salary. It's on TSN.

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#41 pboy
July 06 2009, 04:22PM
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I believe the Kovalev signing puts the Sens 2 mill over the cap. I would have to think that Tambo would be able offer less than Penner-Cogs-Smid and still be able to acquire Heatley if thats what he still wants to do. There don't appear to be any other suitors out there and Ottawa doesn't have the option of sending him to the minors, so they can trade him or trade some other players to get under the cap but keeping doesn't seem all that likely.

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#42 The Pestival
July 06 2009, 04:28PM
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I just want this to go through so we can all go on talking about something else finally. Plus the Triple H line sounds super cool. That said, I fully concur that Heatley is right now the biggest douche in the entire league. But as long as he's wearing the pertiest sweater in the league I will cheer for him and so will every other Oilers fan. This could go two ways: 1) Heatley is motivated to prove to his new teammates, fans and city that he is not the uber-douche that many perceive him to be and proceeds to quickly hammer in as many goals as he can...or 2) No one likes him in the room, everyone is pissed at losing a guy like Cogs for the biggest dink in hockey and he struggles mightily out the gate. Wouldn't be the first time the Oil picked up a guy with high expectations only to have him crap all over the slack-jawed faces of the fans.

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#43 Murf99
July 06 2009, 04:30PM
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Oiler fans will have mixed feelings about this, until Heater scores his first hatty in October.

If the coaches can get him motivated (and I think they can) he could be one of the best off-season additions.

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#44 Jorge
July 06 2009, 04:32PM
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Ive been told that the Senators are holding a press conference in the next 15 minutes to announce the waiving of Heatleys NMC and the trade to Edmonton

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#45 cambosmash
July 06 2009, 04:32PM
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Dany Heatley has smashenated my heart into 50 pieces and with each goal he scores he will glue the pieces together. If he scores 50 goals my heart will be whole again.

The Oilers are a better team with him on the top line and if he helps restore our team to glory again I will probably forget about this last week. If he scores 5 goals in the first Battle of Alberta and Dion/J-Bo are a collective -12 in the game I will shed tears of joy.

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#46 misfit
July 06 2009, 04:34PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

as I understand it, once he’s dealt his NMC becomes null and void - it applies exclusively to his time in Ottawa - meaning that the Oilers won’t be shackled if they’re forced to deal him two years from now.

That was the case with Visnovsky because he was traded before the NTC kicked in, but it's not the case with anyone who has one and has waived it to go to another team. I'm pretty sure if he's traded, the NTC goes along with him.

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#47 tikked
July 06 2009, 04:34PM
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Jorge,

Don't be an Eklund.

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#48 tikked
July 06 2009, 04:36PM
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I've been told that Jorge is about to poo in his pants in 39 minutes.

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#49 Jorge
July 06 2009, 04:36PM
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tikked wrote:

Jorge, Don’t be an Eklund.

haha hey im just saying my friend said he heard it on the ottawa radio station

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#50 Archaeologuy
July 06 2009, 04:37PM
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@ Jorge: they might just be announcing the Kovalev signing too.

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