by Todd Anderson
While Ottawa Senators winger Dany Heatley is coming off a career season with 50 goals, the most in Senators' history, and 103 points, which tied him for the team record with captain Daniel Alfredsson, the gifted young winger is working on getting even better.
"There will always be a bit of a push to get stronger," Heatley said from his Kelowna home in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. "I'm working on my leg quickness and strength. You want to work at being a step quicker than the year before."
In between training sessions this summer, Heatley has also had time to relax and visit friends. Heatley visited Madison, Wis., where he played college hockey with the Wisconsin University Badgers, for a few weeks and has played in a couple of weekend golf tournaments as well. He has also enjoyed boating around his home in Kelowna.
Perhaps no one was happier than Heatley when it was announced that Jason Spezza signed a new multi-year contract with the Senators on July 3. It was Spezza - a gifted passer who finished second in the NHL with 71 assists last season despite playing in just 68 games - who played a big part in Heatley's first 50-goal campaign in 2005-06.
"He's a great player, a great passer," Heatley said. "I'm more of a shooter. When we were put together, we clicked pretty quickly."
Looking back over the season, Heatley appreciates his welcome to Ottawa.
"It's a special thing to play in Canada. I grew up here, and you know how crazy people can get, how much they love the game. We played in front of a packed house every night. We had a lot of great nights, and it was fun."
In a season full of highlights, Heatley said having success against the Senators' biggest rival stood out the most for him personally.
"The games against Toronto, we played very well. I think the fans enjoyed those games."