There is a reason Dany Heatley was chosen second overall in the NHL’s Entry Draft in 2000 – the man can score goals. During San Jose’s home opener at HP Pavilion on Oct. 16, Heatley scored his 300th career NHL tally and has done it in less than 600 NHL games. Posting a goal at an every-other-game clip is something not even some of the NHL’s top lifetime goal scorers have been able to accomplish. Heatley definitely is a special player.
Of current NHLers, only Teemu Selanne and Ilya Kovalchuk scored their 300th faster and Heatley recorded his quicker than the likes of Mike Modano and Mark Recchi.
For all his talents, with all the skill playing for San Jose, Heatley can almost seem like just another guy in the room cheering on the San Francisco Giants run to the World Series.
“I think when you have a team like this, we have so many great players, it’s not really focused on one or two guys,” said Heatley. “Jumbo’s the captain, Patty’s been here a long time. Boyler has a huge reputation in this League. You go through our lineup, there are a lot of big names in our lineup and guys who have had great careers.”
Probably the most amazing part of Heatley’s scoring knack is that he’s not a one dimensional shooter. Many goal hawks will score the bulk of their tallies via a specialty shot. Maybe it’s the one-timer, maybe it’s the garbage goal from a rebound, maybe the player is a power play specialist. For Heater, he brings the heat any way he can.
“Just in the net,” Heatley laughed when asked about his favorite result.
There has been no magical formula for Heatley, just plain magic when the puck is on his stick.
“Some seasons it seems like you score a particular type of goal like a one-timer, some years it seems like most come in tight,” Heatley said. “It’s different for me year to year, but as long as they are going in, that’s all I care about.”
His centers have been different over the years with three different teams, but that hasn’t fazed Heatley as he does what is necessary to find results.
“I think you adjust every year to your team system and your linemates,” Heatley said. “Sometimes your center is a righty, sometimes a lefty. Eastern Conference versus Western Conference. You’re always adjusting.”
Now Heatley has the best playmaker in the game, but a case could be make for Heatley being the best finisher in the game and that is a match made in heaven.
“When you are a goal scorer, you need a guy to get you the puck,” Heatley said. “I’ve had a chance to play with a lot of great centermen, but it’s another fun part of it, clicking with that centerman. I’ve always taken pride in getting that chemistry. Last year, coming in with Jumbo, he was great. We both just let it happen. We didn’t talk about it much, we just went out there and played and figured it out.”
Heatley has a unique ability play multiple positions, sitting on the right wing or the left wing as the coach sees fit. That can be particularly frustrating for defenders as Heatley is dangerous no matter what side of the ice he ends up on.
“It’s not a huge deal for me,” Heatley said. “I’ve been back and forth my whole career. I think on the right wing you have your advantage going in the zone, you have a little bit better angle. It’s what your center shoots and how he passes. I don’t like to think about it too much because it’s not set in stone. You just adjust and away you go.”
Heatley is very happy to have landed in San Jose and excited that the fans’ supportive reputation to be well earned
“I get recognized off the ice,” Heatley said. “It is a great hockey crazy town and people love the Sharks.”
Heatley is still only 29 years old so there is a lot of time for his to add to his current tally. If the pace of the last six years stands, fans in San Jose may find out how truly special their goal scoring winger is.
FIRST GOAL John McCarthy scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night in the Sharks 6-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
“It was pretty exciting,” McCarthy said. “Mitchy through a rebound on the net and it came right out to me.”
McCarthy learned he had quite a few fans watching the game with the late start on the east coast.
“With Facebook and texts, there were quite a few watching,” McCarthy said. “It was nice to know they were watching and paying attention. It makes you feel really good. They (mom and dad) got to watch it. They’ve got the package back home and they were really excited for me. My dad usually stays up for the whole game.”
A bit ironic that the player who just scored his first goal is playing with the two elder statesmen on the club in Jamal Mayers and Scott Nichol.
“They are really helpful,” McCarthy said. “They pull me aside and let me know if I’m not doing something right. Little things that can improve my game a little bit. I love playing with them. If I have any questions, they are really helpful, but they usually answer before I ask it.”
NEXT GAME The Sharks will host New Jersey on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and the contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.