By Ian Mendes, Sportsnet.ca
The NHL regular season kicks off on Wednesday night, meaning Dany Heatley and his camp have about 24 hours to negotiate a contract extension before their self-imposed deadline kicks in.
And according to the superstar forward, there have been no significant developments on the negotiation front.
“As far as I know, everything is the same,” said Heatley when asked for an update on the situation on Tuesday morning. “If we don’t get anything done by the start of the season, it’s no big deal. We’ll talk again at the end of the season.”
Heatley has stated several times throughout training camp that he does not want to work on a contract extension during the season. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is expected to be one of the most sought-after players on the open market.
His agents met with Senators general manager Bryan Murray and owner Eugene Melnyk last Thursday. The five-hour negotiations were characterized as “initial talks” by Murray and seemed to indicate the two sides had work to do to get a deal done.
On Tuesday morning, Heatley reiterated his stance of closing off talks until the end of the season.
“I just still firmly believe I don’t want this to go on during the season,” said Heatley. “We have a great chance to win this year and I’d like to keep the focus on hockey.”
In other team news on Tuesday, Ray Emery confirmed that he will not dress for the season opener on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. There was some talk that the netminder would be healthy enough to serve as Martin Gerber’s back-up in Toronto, but Emery says he’s not quite ready to dress for games.
“I want to get better. I’m definitely getting stronger and it should be soon,” said Emery. “I want to make sure when I’m ready to go, there’s no looking back.”
Emery did not practice with the club on Tuesday, but he did skate on his own with goalie coach Eli Wilson. He is reporting progress on his left wrist, but is still not putting a timetable on his return.
“I feel a lot better than I did a couple of days ago,” he continued. “But I’m not ready to go yet.”