NHL News and Notes – September 1, 2009

Heatley deadline on the way, Murray says

Oilers have plan for new rink but lack financial backing here

Mike Peca TalkHeatley deadline on the way, Murray says

Allen Panzeri

Since mid-June, when his demand for a trade was first revealed, the clock has been ticking on Dany Heatley.

Now, with a little more than one week before the start of training camp, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray is suggesting that the time is almost up. On Monday, he said he was ready to impose a drop-dead date to trade the disgruntled winger.

There is a lot at stake for the team, which is seeking to rebound from a terrible 2008-09 season that saw it miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

In an economy that is just starting to emerge from a recession, the team can’t afford to begin the season with a cloud over its head. For better or worse, it needs some clarity, for its fans, coaches and players.

So Murray said Monday he’s on the verge of imposing a deadline to trade Heatley.

If Heatley is not traded by the designated date, he’d be expected in training camp.

What the date will be, Murray couldn’t say, though Saturday seems a logical spot on the calendar. It marks the start of rookie camp and is only one week away from the start of the main camp on Sept. 12. That would give Heatley plenty of time to pack and get his ticket back to Ottawa.

If that happens, Murray said it’s a given that Heatley would not be wearing the alternate captain’s “A” any longer. That would indicate he’s a team leader, said Murray, which he isn’t.


Oilers have plan for new rink but lack financial backing here

The Oilers are moving full-speed ahead with a half-billion-dollar downtown mega-rink to replace aging Rexall Place, even though it hasn’t been decided who will pay for it and who will own it.

“The development model for this has yet to be discovered,” Oilers president Patrick LaForge said at a news conference at Rexall Place yesterday.

He reiterated that Oilers owner Daryl Katz has promised $100 million toward a new rink, and that they’re looking at other private sources of income.

He said the City of Edmonton has not given them a financial commitment, and declined to say whether the Oilers would still build the arena if public cash — estimated at $300 million to $400 million — doesn’t come through.

“I’m not even going there,” LaForge said. “The idea is to get the design and the development put together, understand what is on the table, how much it costs and where it’s going to be. “

“Through the process we’ll be understanding what partnerships look like on the arena.”

The provincial government has previously said there will be no direct public funding for the rink.


Mike Peca Talk

Talked to Michael Peca today. He’s still unsigned, too, but said he’s had inquiries from a handful of clubs, all in the Eastern Conference. Nothing is close, he said, but it could happen at anytime. He has no plans to retire, he said. He fully expects to play in the NHL in 2009-10.

— You have to love hockey players. Peca and I had a good 10 minute conversation (his contract status, moving the family, drama at the NHLPA, etc.) before he asked if he could put the phone down for a moment. He had a golf ball to hit in a charity scramble in Buffalo. The conversation when he picked back up: Me: “Long and straight?” Peca: “It was an approach shot, but, yeah. Three feet from the pin. Looks like birdie.”