Mr. Me First
Talk to Dany Heatley once and you understand you're not talking to a MENSA candidate.
That's okay. As probably more a few coaches have told Heatley along the way: don't think, it just hurts the team.
But where Heatley really kept his synapses in reserve this time was his timing concerning a request to have his hockey contract traded to another NHL club.
I get the part where he doesn't want to live in Ottawa. Neither would I. I get the part where after being allowed to freelance continuously during his years as a heroic Senator he might chafe at the notion of being asked to play a larger team game.
Geez, if he'd known he'd have to play in three zones he'd have asked for more money.
No, the part where I don't get Heatley's timing is when it comes to the fact that just about every Canadian hockey player is trying to be on their best behaviour these days in hopes that Steve Yzerman might find them worthy of being part of the Olympic effort next winter.
Instead, Heatley is painting himself as a me-first individual to Yzerman, a guy who played through all the hard years in Detroit and never played for any other club even when it meant taking less money at the end of his career.
To me, Heatley was one of those 2006 Team Canada members who needed to be replaced anyway for the sake of moving forward with a new team attitude and dynamic for a tournament that promises to be a killer. For the same reasons I'd be moving on from guys like Joe Thornton and Marty St. Louis and maybe even Chris Pronger as well.
But most people would have all four of those players pencilled in to their 2010 Canadian lineup
Now, who knows? Heatley has played for two NHL teams and asked to be traded twice. He must have missed those basic lessons on personal responsibility and commitment during grade school, opting instead for a lucrative life of off-ice recklessness and playing mostly for himself. In terms of hockey, he scores goals, and that's about it.
In '06, Todd Bertuzzi was the lightning rod for criticism of Wayne Gretzky's last Olympic squad, both because he didn't belong because he wasn't good enough and because his previous acts as a professional athlete made him an unworthy Olympian.
This time, we might be saying the same about Heatley.