According to Daniel Alfredsson, star winger Dany Heatley will have some explaining to do to his teammates if he joins the Ottawa Senators for training camp next week.
“If it comes to that (Heatley returns), obviously you can’t just wipe it under the rug and go on. You’re going to have to address the situation and we’ll do that if that’s the case next week,” Alfredsson told reporters on Friday afternoon.
Alfredsson said that he would not demand that Heatley relinquish his alternate captaincy if he returns to the club, saying that decision needs to be made by the players, head coach Cory Clouston and GM Bryan Murray. He also said that if Heatley’s explanation didn’t satisfy everyone in the room, it shouldn’t be a hurdle towards having a successful season on the ice.
“There’s been teams before where you have guys you don’t like on the team. But when it comes to stepping on the ice, everybody just has to work towards the same goal,” said Alfredsson. “When it comes to Dany and his situation, once he’s on the ice, he’s going to do his best – no question.”
The Senators training camp opens next Saturday and there appears to be a very realistic chance that Heatley could return, despite asking for a trade out of Ottawa in early June. He has yet to speak to his teammates to enlighten them on why he wants to leave town, which has left Alfredsson in the dark.
“I’m not sure if he’s told the whole story or if there is something else. I haven’t talked to him and I don’t know exactly what his reasons are,” continued Alfredsson. “Maybe there is something else involved. All I can do is speculate – and I’d like not to.”
Alfredsson answered about a dozen questions about Heatley after his first informal skate with teammates at the club’s practice facility on Friday. He is bracing for an onslaught of questions when camp officially opens next week, as he knows that Heatley will be the topic du jour for most journalists.
“If he comes back obviously, there is going to be a lot of attention and focus. Whatever happens in practice – if somebody hits him or something occurs – everything is going to be blown out of proportion, said Alfredsson.
Alfredsson agreed with the assessment that working out a trade for Heatley before training camp would be the ideal solution for Heatley, GM Bryan Murray and the players.
“Obviously, it would be the best scenario for everybody. But if it were that easy, something would have already been done. We’re ready for whatever happens and make something good out of it.”