Saturday, August 01, 2009

Enough is enough; Oilers cut off talks

Let's think this one over - is this big news or just another blip on the radar? It has been exactly a month since Dany Heatley said he needed more time to decide if he'd go to Edmonton in the completed trade. So when the Oilers say that they are no longer interested in pursuing this trade this week, is that really a big deal?

My initial reaction was one of surprise and disappointment. I truly thought that Edmonton would stay in this until training camp. It really isn't much different than a team pursuing a free agent that is holding out for a better option. Teams put together videos of their program, they visit the players at their homes, and they publicly discuss their interest. In the case of the Oilers here, it always seemed to have a touch of desperation, but it was really just a team doing everything it could to acquire a 50-goal scorer. I thought they'd stay in it as long as it took.

But perhaps the writing was on the wall on June 30th when said he needed more time to think about it. When the Oilers called Heatley's agents to confirm that he'd waive his no-movement clause, the call shouldn't have shocked anyone. Barry and McAlpine must have known that this conversation was taking place and must have passed that information on to Heatley. Regardless of if they thought Slats and the Rags would put together a better offer, they must have had that conversation within their camp about Edmonton and what their response would be. So when Heatley said he wasn't sure, it wasn't about needing more time; it was strictly about hoping that another team would put together a better offer. That clearly hasn't happened and again, I see this as a gross PR disaster for Heatley and company.

Why a PR disaster? Well, they basically held the Oilers hostage and used and abused their offer to go shopping elsewhere. Is it okay for Murray to use Edmonton's offer as a standard to go shopping? Absolutely, because he always knew that he would come back and accept that deal if Slats or Wilson or anyone else wouldn't match it. But Heatley clearly knew before June 30th that he wouldn't go to Edmonton and instead of flat out saying no to Murray before the trade leaked, he let his agents spend the next month lobbying for other teams. If Heatley had no intention of going to Edmonton, then it was the responsibility of his agents to say in mid-June, or at the draft, or prior to free agency, to tell Murray an emphatic no, to stop talking to the Oilers.

And where do we go from here? Most pundits are now assuming that it is inevitable that Heatley is back in Ottawa this Fall when camp opens in six weeks. Some are still thinking that another team might finally step up and find a way to get this guy under their cap. One thing is for certain - Murray's bargaining power just took another hit. If you're Doug Wilson, you no longer have to match the Penner/Cogliano/Smid offer, right? Booboo says Cheechoo/Ehrhoff/1st rounder was already turned down by Ottawa so the question becomes whether or not Wilson feels he needs to up that offer and whether or not Murray feels that Heatley must not return to Ottawa. We've all heard the players, Murray, the Euge and others say they'd welcome Heatley back with open arms, but that has got to just be public relations.

Everyone from Heatley, his agents, and the entire Ottawa Senators organization wants this thing to end with Heatley sporting different threads next season. If the Oilers ship has sailed and they and Heatley don't want each other, then this might just come down to Murray taking whatever offer is on the table, regardless of the return.

Let me as you this: does Murray have to take a lowball offer just to move Heatley, or just bring him to camp and make amends?


Alex Tanguay said...

Hey Edmonton,
I need a contract and I know Alberta fairly well.

Waiting by the phone,
Alex Tanguay

Canucnik said...


Well written...pretty close to the bone...two things:

When BARRY puts the "Trade Request" in writing to's to the "PA"; the NHL Head Office and various other lawyers, this is a designed move to leak the "request" these Creative Thinkers just screwed the pooch right there and the PR contest was on...remember at the Draft: "What the f#&k were you guys thinking?"

Secondly, your big brother (older) doesn't want to play road hockey but it's the love the guy and you hate the guy (indifference is the opposite of love). Sure you'd like to kick his ass but he's too big for you and besides ya need him...anyone with half a brain wants him back at camp...thats Eugene; Bryan; Jason; ALF; Kovi; et al. "Quiet" now everyone let the healing started 3 weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Murray doesn't HAVE to do anything, he has a mutually agreed upon contract with Heatley for the next five years, remember? The Sens organization, can move on without Dany.The same can't be said for Dany,

Last time I checked, according to IIHF rules he can't play anywhere else in the world professionally while tied up to this contract.
Now the question is, is he OK with sitting out the prime years of his hockey life? I doubt it.

Murray so far is doing the right thing, "either you take a trade I can accept or you play here". Period...

Master Of Puppets said...

The only way Murray should consider a Cheechoo/Erhoff (or Vlasic) deal is if it includes Couture McGinn AND a 1st rnd pick. Cheechoo has declined every year since his 56 goal 97 point campaign with 37, 23 and 12 goals. It's a huge gamble to think he could even get 30 alongside Spezza for a full season.

So given Cheechoo is now a 3rd liner, one of the two D mentioned could become a solid #2 D (are either a #1 or projected #1?). Couture and McGinn are prospects and may never make it to the show but the potential is there for them so it takes the sting out of Cheechoo's contract esp with a #1 pick 2010 or 11 or even 12 to sweeten it. Send Schubert to SJ as well if needed.

Really doesn't solve much except send DDH to his promised land.

A Cheechoo/Michalek/Erhoff type deal is far too much $$ coming back to make sense either unless Pedro (Kelly) is a part of it.

Maybe a deal will happen but you can be guaranteed there will be some portion of excrement coming back for us to not like, whether Cheechoo or Plekanec. As with EDM - Penner and to a lesser extent Smid had an aroma to it most (Sens fans) didn't like.

Sigh ... the drama continues. I can't fkn wait till there's a resolution.

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