Dany Heatley was expected to be back in Ottawa for a charity golf tournament on Friday but the Senators pulled the plug on his scheduled appearance.
A press release from the Senators stated, “In order to direct attention on the efforts of the Sens Foundation on Friday, Dany Heatley will not take part in the golf charity event.”
Heatley’s teammates said they were bracing for a media storm, as Heatley was scheduled to make his his first public appearance in the Nation’s Capital since he requested a trade out of Ottawa three months ago.
“We’re going to try and make it as routine and normal as possible,” said defenseman Chris Phillips, one of the few teammates who has spoken to Heatley this summer. “We’re all going to have to speak to the media and answer questions about it. But we can get that out of the way and get down to business.”
Many Senators players are awaiting an in-person discussion with Heatley to hear why the two-time 50-goal scorer wants to leave the team. Until now, Heatley’s only explanation came during a late-August conference call with reporters, when he said his “diminished role” with the club was the reason why he wanted out.
“I think he just needs to explain his position, I don’t think he needs to address something big. Just what his desire is, what he’s thinking and how he’s going to approach being with us here in camp,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
“I’m sure he hasn’t had the best of summers and it’s been difficult,” Mike Fisher said. “We just want to know his story and tell us what’s going on. We just want to know that he wants to be here and play for us.”
“We probably won’t hear anything tomorrow, because we’re at a golf tournament,” added forward Chris Neil. “But if he comes back and he’s willing to work hard and play hard, that’s all we can ask for. Anytime you have a 50 goal scorer in the dressing room, you welcome him back.”
Alfredsson echoed his comments from last week, when he stated that Heatley won’t be a distraction to this team – even if he still wants to be traded after training camp starts this weekend.
“If he comes here, he’s probably not going to change his position as far as wanting out of Ottawa. If he plays hard, he can help this team out in the meantime until something happens – if it does,” Alfredsson said. “That’s not going to be a major distraction or worry for us.”