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Heatley's thrilled to be a Shark

Friday, 09.18.2009 / 5:38 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Dany Heatley officially put Ottawa in his rear-view mirror on Friday. The two-time 50-goal scorer took the ice for the first time as a San Jose Shark, then went before the assembled media to talk about how happy he was to have been traded to San Jose by the Senators six days earlier.

"I feel good. I feel ready to go right now," Heatley said during the news conference at HP Pavilion following his first practice. "This is a very good team that has a great chance to win. I'm excited to be part of it."

The Sharks acquired Heatley on Sept. 12 in a deal that sent forwards Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek to Ottawa. The 2008-09 Presidents' Trophy winners hope he can be the missing piece that helps them convert their regular-season prowess into playoff success -- after finishing first in the overall standings last season, the Sharks were bounced by Anaheim in the first round of the postseason.

In Heatley, the Sharks received a steady and prolific scorer who has 260 goals and 283 assists for 543 points in just 507 career games. He's coming off a "down" year for him -- Heatley scored 39 goals and 72 points in 82 games with the Senators in 2008-09, then asked to be traded, saying he felt he wasn't being used properly under new coach Cory Clouston, who took over midway through the season.

Heatley declined to discuss any specifics about why he wanted to be traded.

"There's a lot of things -- hockey-wise, personal-wise -- that led to me asking to be traded," he said. "I'm not going to get into that. I think that's in the past. I'm ready to move on here."

General Manager Doug Wilson, who pulled the trigger on the deal, said he's not concerned with any problems in Heatley's past. He's more concerned about the future, and what Heatley can bring to the table.

"He's gone and played hard," Wilson said. "His reputation as a player -- and the most important people, his teammates, the people he's played with, and the coaches he's played for -- they look at him as a hockey player that leaves it all out there. That's what we're getting. That's what we're doing from this day forward. He's a San Jose Shark.

"There's no question about him as a hockey player, and there's no question about him as a man. We're proud to have him here."

Heatley is coming to an organization that's familiar with him and his style of play. Wilson is from Ottawa, Assistant GM Wayne Thomas has known Heatley since he was a youngster, and Heatley said he likes the Sharks' force-the-tempo style of play under coach Todd McLellan, who coached him at the World Junior Championships before he turned pro.

"I like shooting the puck," he said. "I'm ready to go. I like the style of this team. I feel confident playing this style -- an offensive, skating style. I'm anxious to get going."

He also praised McLellan as "a great communicator" and someone "who will tell you exactly what he wants."

Wilson said the Sharks did a lot of checking before he decided to make the deal, and that he was satisfied with what he found.

"He was probably the easiest guy that I ever had to do research on," Wilson said. "He was playing in my hometown in Ottawa. When he represented the country of Canada, he was playing for Steve Yzerman and Bob Nicholson, two very good friends and two people I have as much respect for as anyone in hockey. Peter Chiarelli, who's a good friend of mine, is the general manager of Boston and was in Ottawa when Dany was there.

"You look at people and say, 'does this guy fit in as a hockey player?' Absolutely. As a person? Absolutely," he said. "When we sit here and say we go forward, we do it with great pride."

"There's a lot of things -- hockey-wise, personal-wise -- that led to me asking to be traded. I'm not going to get into that. I think that's in the past. I'm ready to move on here." -- Dany Heatley

Wilson said Heatley's international success also convinced him to make the deal. Heatley was among the invitees to Canada's Olympic training camp last month and figures to be a prime candidate for the final squad that will try to win gold in Vancouver in February.

"Dany has represented his country more often and better than any other player in the history of international hockey," Wilson said. "He is the leading scorer for the country of Canada, and that means a lot to me because it's obviously in a forum of pressure and attention -- an environment where you want to win. It's an honor to play best-on-best. That's another element to his game that makes us feel very fortunate to have him."

Heatley was part of the Ottawa team that went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007 before losing to Ottawa. He's eager to be part of a team that can take that last step to a title.

"There's a lot of good teams on paper," he said. "It takes a lot of different things to gel and do what you have to to win. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are four tough rounds. The bottom line is to win when you have to.

"Any time you don't win, you haven't done the best job. I think everyone is excited to get back on the ice and show what we can do."

Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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