July 2, 2009 Morning NHL News and Rumors

Heatley refuses to budge

Predators expect to lose players

Rangers passed on Heatley
Heatley refuses to budge

Allen Panzeri, The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday might have been the most frustrating day in Bryan Murray’s long National Hockey League career, but he was hoping it would at least end with Dany Heatley getting fitted for an Edmonton Oilers jersey.

The Ottawa Senators general manager spent all of Canada Day waiting to hear if Heatley would agree to waive his no-trade clause and accept a proposed deal to the Oilers.

Several members of the Oilers management team, including general manager Steve Tambellini, president Kevin Lowe, and new head coach Pat Quinn, flew to Kelowna, B.C., where Heatley has a summer home, to sell the 28-year-old left-winger on a move to the Alberta capital.

However, they had no such luck.

Heatley’s agents were upset at Murray, saying that he hadn’t worked hard enough to arrange a trade. They had hoped to be presented with more options. They also didn’t want Heatley making a decision on Ottawa’s timetable, so they decided to take more time.

“Edmonton is the only option that has been presented to us, and you can’t tell that there aren’t more,” J.P. Barry told Sportsnet.ca.

Heatley’s refusal meant that as of midnight the Senators were on the hook for Heatley’s $4-million contract bonus.


Predators expect to lose players


Say goodbye to forward Vern Fiddler and defenseman Greg Zanon.

That’s what things looked like Tuesday night, only hours before the NHL’s unrestricted free agent market was set to open at 11 a.m. today.

Predators General Manager David Poile said Tuesday that Nashville was unlikely to re-sign either Fiddler or Zanon. Both players had spent the past three seasons with the Predators and both had hoped to return, but deals could not be struck.

“It’s about the dollars they want,” Poile said. “It’s not for me to say that they’re not going to get them. But right now … if we have an ability to sign anybody before 11, it will be Sullivan and/or Ward.”

Both Poile and Sullivan’s agent described negotiations as ongoing, despite an unusual hiccup.

Poile apparently said during a Tuesday radio interview on WNSR 560-AM that Sullivan was looking for a deal for longer than two years. His comments found their way back to Sullivan and his agent, Stephen Bartlett, who clarified their stance with Poile.

“I believe what I said was that they’d asked for a multi-year deal, and were hoping to get three or four years,” Poile said. “(But) in talking to Steve and his representative, if he could get the right deal money-wise, he would sign with the Predators for two years. That was clarified.”

Joel Ward’s agent, Peter Cooney, said Tuesday afternoon that, despite conversations between the two sides, Ward would likely hit the unrestricted free-agent market today.

“I don’t believe anything is going to change between now and (Wednesday at 11),” Cooney said. “But if the phone rings and (David Poile) is on the line, we’re interested in talking to him.


Rangers passed on Heatley


Sather said he had been given an opportunity to bid on Heatley, but passed. He spent the same on Gaborik as he would have on Heatley, whose reputation is toxic, and without yielding an asset, though there’s no law it had to be a one-or-the-other. Indeed, Sather said it wasn’t.

“We had a lot of balls in the air, and we still do,” the general manager said. “We think there might be a lot of possibilities, either as free agents or in trades.