Oilers pull out of Heatley trade offer

 

After the agony he has put the Ottawa Senators through since announcing during the Stanley Cup final that he wanted a trade, and then rejecting the one that was arranged for him, it's difficult to imagine that Dany Heatley could ever play for them again.

 
 
 
 

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After the agony he has put the Ottawa Senators through since announcing during the Stanley Cup final that he wanted a trade, and then rejecting the one that was arranged for him, it's difficult to imagine that Dany Heatley could ever play for them again.

It would be a season of acrimony, ruined before it even began. No one would be immune to its effects. The fans would be merciless.

But after the Edmonton Oilers announced on Friday that they're pulling out of the proposed deal that would have seen them take Heatley, it seems possible that he could be back in Senators colours.

He might have no place else to go. Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said his team was aggressive in its pursuit of Heatley, but couldn't wait forever.

"We did everything we thought we could, and that's fine," he said in a conference call. "We're comfortable with that. It's time for us to move on. (The Heatley camp) can explore their options elsewhere."

Tambellini said he informed Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray at the start of the week that the Oilers were pulling out.

Tambellini said he probably should have made his decision public at that time instead of waiting until the end of the week. However, he took a couple of days before deciding that he had to put the issue to rest. He said he had sympathy for Murray.

"They have a manager in Ottawa trying to make a deal, but if the player doesn't want to co-operate, it's tough to operate," he said.

Murray is now out of the frying pan and right back into the fire. He's under pressure to get something of approximate value for Heatley, and would have got a reasonable package from the Oilers in underachieving Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid. However, other than that package, Murray hasn't been offered anything that could even be considered remotely reasonable.

The only other team with any interest in Heatley is San Jose. But whether that interest is serious is another question. So far it hasn't been, though the Sharks may end up being the only option.

Murray didn't have much to say about the matter on Friday. In an email, he said he was aware of Edmonton's decision and understood it, but that there's "really nothing else to say at this time."

Asked if the door was entirely closed, Tambellini sounded shocked when he said, "I'd have to say so.

"There's nothing on the table, that's for sure."

Tambellini took exception to criticism that the Oilers were grovelling, even after being rejected twice, and was astonished that anyone would question his desire to make the team better.

He said the team was only taking time to see where Heatley was coming from and what he was looking for in a new team. Tambellini knows Heatley from their association with Hockey Canada and was hoping to build on that relationship.

But when it was clear Heatley and his agents weren't ready to make a decision, Tambellini said it was time to move on.

Tambellini said he also continues to be furious that someone leaked that Penner, Cogliano and Smid were part of the trade.

"I'm extremely disappointed in that," he said. "It'll eventually come out who did that, but I wasn't very happy. It was entirely unprofessional."

 
 
 
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