Off your knees and on your feet

If you could jab Edmonton Oilers players like Steve MacIntyre and Zack Stortini in the ass with a shot of sodium pentothal, I wonder what they’d say about Dany Heatley?

Would MacIntyre, who thanks his lucky stars every time he pulls on an Oilers jersey after a decade of slugging it out in the minors, say Heatley has acted like a spoiled, petulant child in the last 48 hours or so? Would he talk about being sickened by Heatley’s sense of entitlement, how he has screwed over not only the Oilers but the Ottawa Senators?

Would Stortini, who has parlayed modest skills and a Herculean work ethic to a place at the bottom of the NHL pay scale, admit watching GM Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe essentially beg and grovel to get Heatley to accept a trade to Edmonton makes him want to puke? Would he allow that Heatley is the epitome of the me-first player who cares only about a pay cheque and having his own way, somebody who doesn’t have the faintest idea what it means to be a team guy?

Do they want him as a teammate? Is Heatley somebody they want to do the dirty work for as part of the job description they happily accept as part of what it takes to call themselves members of the Oilers?

I don’t know. But, after the last 48 hours — in which Heatley has rebuffed the Oilers, refused to waive his no-movement clause in a deal for Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid after demanding the Senators trade him — is there any doubt Heatley is the last player the Oilers need?

You know where I stand on that. How about you?

Enough already

If Heatley hasn’t used up every shred of any benefit of the doubt Oilers fans have been willing to allow in order to add his 40 goals to their top line, then the faithful at Rexall Place truly are a masochistic lot.

Even now, after Ottawa GM Bryan Murray said today the deal that was on the table is dead because the Senators had to kick-in a $4-million bonus to Heatley last night, some die-hards are still in denial of the obvious.

Maybe the Oilers can take on a couple of contracts in the deal — those of Jason Smith and Christoph Schubert have been mentioned — to offset Ottawa’s financial hit and keep talks alive for the right to pay Heatley’s $7.5 million cap hit a season. Oh, wouldn’t that be something?

Maybe if Tambellini and Lowe, who have already taken the extraordinary step of flying to Kelowna to meet with Heatley, get on bended knee and kiss his Stanley Cup ring — wait, he doesn’t have one — Dany will re-think his desire to go anywhere but Edmonton and agree to make his millions here. Besides, he can always change his mind once next season begins.

Are Oilers fans that desperate? Sadly, some are, although I’m guessing the numbers who think an abusive relationship is better than no relationship at all are dwindling.

Move on

I admire the determination of Tambellini and Lowe to do whatever it takes to improve the Oilers after three straight years out of the playoffs. Given the well-documented challenges this city has in attracting marquee players and slights fans have endued in the past, they have to take extraordinary measures.

Lowe tried, without success, with Marian Hossa last summer. He threw out the welcome mat and the Oilers stopped just short of offering up a key to the city. Players called. Owner Daryl Katz waded in. No deal.

At some point, though, enough is enough. At some point, making a case for Edmonton and what it could mean to play for the Oilers, transcends a sales pitch and becomes begging. There is no dignity, 40 goals or not, in that.

At some point, fans have to admit welcoming a player like Heatley into the dressing room, despite his obvious on-ice ability, isn’t for the best. At some point, it becomes obvious somebody of Heatley’s ilk would be poison to a group of players that already has challenges in terms of cohesiveness.

Does it really take a shot of truth serum in the ass to admit we’re well past that point with Dany Heatley?

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

  • Robin Browee

    @ Hemmertime:
    You ae using statistics to explain/justify Heatley's me-first act? That's classic.
    Use them to argue he's an adept goal-scorer, but don't try to sell me that he's a good team player and the right guy at the right time for this team.

  • Peter Pan

    Robin Browee wrote:

    @ Hemmertime:
    You ae using statistics to explain/justify Heatley’s me-first act? That’s classic.
    Use them to argue he’s an adept goal-scorer, but don’t try to sell me that he’s a good team player and the right guy at the right time for this team.

    Brownlee's right. What makes you think this loser won't pull off the same stunt in a year or two from now? He wants the ritz and glitz of New York or L.A. Hockey is not at forefront of his priorities. It's too bad. He has talent, but no class. Let it go!

  • Robin Browee

    @ Peter Pan:
    Look, I don't want to go over the top and start calling Heatley an endless string of names — that was done by Ottawa writers when he asked for the trade and I thought it showed a lack of class.
    Dany is an elite talent, there's no question and I can see why a lot of people are interested in him. Forty-goal guys don't grow on trees. I just don't want the baggage he brings and anybody who doesn't see red flags all over are deluding themselves. My big fan, Jack Bauer, leads that parade.
    While there aren't a bunch of 40-50 goal guys available through free agency or trade, I refuse to believe Heatley is the only option when you're talking about a cap hit of $7.5 million a season.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Tambellini can't find a 35-45 goal scorer (which still ranks as a triggerman in my books) who also brings some other dimensions and doesn't have the baggage for $7.5 million a season via a trade, then he isn't looking hard enough.

  • Jamie

    Wow. I am amazed at the desperation that some Oiler fans have. Have some pride people. Yes he may scores some goals but how messed up is this locker room going to be? Probably much the same as Ottawa's was the last 2 years. Great.

    I don't know how Heatley goes back to play in Ottawa. They will eat him alive. That leaves very few teams left for him to go to. I say leave him to Ottawa and then revisit the issue when they are desperate to get rid of him and maybe his ego gets a reality check.

  • Robin Brownlee

    Who is this "Browee" pretending to be me? (can't even type my own name properly).

    Reminds me of the very last press pass I had issued at Maple Leaf Gardens. Having been on the beat and a national writer for awhile, I didn't expect my keeper memento from that final game to read: Rubin Brontee, but it did. I still have it.

  • Oil-man-Dan

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    I didn’t expect my keeper memento from that final game to read: Rubin Brontee, but it did. I still have it.

    That is classic. LMAO. 🙂