Other than the big game day scrum, Dany Heatley’s return to Ottawa in an enemy jersey has become rather ho-hum stuff.
This is what we learned this morning: Heatley saw his old pal Jason Spezza on Monday night, Heater is happy to be a member of the Wild, and the organization is thrilled to have him. But, it is early days.
“I’m honoured,” Heatley said about being made an assistant captain in Minnesota. “It’s a real good team. Ever since I’ve got here they’ve treated me well — the coaching staff, it’s a great young staff and they’re bringing a lot of excitement to this team.
Heatley didn’t speak long, or say much, but he was friendly, cordial, complimented me on my U of Vermont hockey cap and did look to be in good shape physically. New Wild head coach Mike Yeo certainly sang the praises of No. 15.
“He’s been really impressive,” Yeo said. “We’re trying to change the identity, we’re trying to build a new culture here and he’s been a tremendous leader for us. On and off the ice he’s been great for the young guys. And really helped us get going in the right direction.
Despite Heatley’s status as a frequent flier (Atl., Ottawa, S.J., Minny), Yeo insists he doesn’t know where the bad rep comes from.
“When the trade happened, I got three or four phone calls immediately, probably within 10 minutes, from guys that had played with him and coaches that had coached him,” Yeo said. “Right away they said, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe what people tell you about this guy. He’s been a tremendous teammate and he’s going to be an outstanding player for you guys.
Yeo said he planned to approach the Heatley acquisition with a open mind, “but it’s been even better than I thought.
“Right from day one, he came into camp and he was in great shape. He’s very determined, very motivated right now. He wants to prove a lot of people wrong and as much s anything else, and what impresses me the most, is how committed he is to winning. He really wants this team to win and he wants to contribute any way he can.”