Posts Tagged ‘Dany Heatley’

Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

July 4th, 2011

Michael Russo from the Star Tribune wrote a terrific article earlier concerning Dany Heatley, his trade to the Minnesota Wild, and his time with the San Jose Sharks.

As fans it’s easy to get caught up in liking/disliking athletes. Dany Heatley’s “heal turn” in the summer of 2009 represents that better than virtually any other example I can think of.  His departure from Ottawa was well documented here, and by pretty much every other blog and sports outlet in North America.

As Russo points out, Heatley’s time in San Jose will largely be viewed as failure. The Sharks didn’t win any Stanley Cups and twice lost in the Western Conference finals (both times fairly convincingly too). Heatley’s playoff numbers aren’t amazing either. In fact, the former 50-goal scorer managed just 22 points in 32 games over his two post-seasons with the Sharks. Frankly, those stats are somewhat flattering too. Only five of Heatley’s 22 points were goals.

Disappointing stats? Absolutely, but it’s not that simple. While it’s clear the new NHL – the way the game is played, the younger and faster players, and the new rules – don’t bode well for Heatley and his style, he’s still an elite goal scorer at this level. Consecutive injury plagued seasons have certainly played a significant role in Heatley’s decline. From torn groins to broken hands, Heatley has probably seen more trainers and medical rooms in the last two years than most nurses.

» Read more: Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

Burgundy’s 2nd round NHL playoff predictions

April 29th, 2010

Stayclassy.net's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

With no real break between rounds, tonight marks the beginning of the Stanley Cup Conference Semi-Finals! The 1st round was a blast and featured the elimination of the top 3 seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. The way the Washington Capitals were eliminated was surprising to many, while the defeats of the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils was predicted by a number of people. The Western Conference saw some interesting developments – the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings gave the Red Wings and Canucks a few scares but ultimately couldn’t hold on. And oh yeah, the San Jose Sharks are through to the next round, no thanks to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

For those of you wondering, I went 5 for 8 in my 1st round predictions. Here are my 2nd round predictions:

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)
The Montreal Canadiens shocked the entire hockey world with their amazing series come-back against the Washington Capitals. I don’t care what the truest of Habs fans say: no one saw them coming back after going down 3-1. Having said that, and as well as Jaroslav Halak has played, there’s no way the Pittsburgh Penguins will fall victim to the Canadiens the way the Capitals did. The Penguins are proven winners and have Russian stars that actually know how to show up in the post-season. Sidney Crosby is on another level in this year’s Playoffs and I don’t think the Hal Gill-Josh Gorges tandem will be able to contain him, despite their tremendous play so far. Pittsburgh will figure out within minutes of the first game how to not shoot directly at the two or three Habs defencemen who are trying to block shots…
Verdict: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

Boston Bruins (6) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
I’m not sure how many of us figured we’d see the Boston Bruins playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd round of the Playoffs, but this should be an interesting series. I really liked how Tuukka Rask played in the 1st round and I felt like the Bruins got stronger as their series with Buffalo went on. Milan Lucic seemed to wake up towards the end of the series and key players like Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Mark Recchi stepped up in the big moments of each game. The highly anticipated return of Marc Savard should provide the Bruins with a nice emotional boost and perhaps a bit of additional scoring. Looking at the Flyers, although they are rested, they will be without the services of three very valuable players: Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. I’m not convinced Brian Boucher is for real, nor do I believe he can outplay Rask. It’s a shame we can’t see each game of this series played at Fenway Park… or can we? No, nevermind. We can’t.
Verdict: Boston in 6 games.

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)
The San Jose Sharks are now at the critical point of their season. Let’s be honest: the 1st round was a formality. While the Colorado Avalanche gave them a quick scare, it was a foregone conclusion the Sharks would/should easily win that round. For the most part, the Avalanche were badly outplayed. Evgeni Nabokov played very well too – something we can’t say has always been the case in the post-season for the Sharks. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski really elevated their play in the 1st round, and yet again, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continue to fight the Playoff pressure. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a scare of their own from the Phoenix Coyotes. Detroit’s leaders got stronger as the series wore on and stepped it up when it mattered most. I really liked Jimmy Howard’s play and attitude (for the most part) against the Coyotes too. My gut feeling lies with the experience of the Wings and I’m still not sold San Jose are the real deal. Still.
Verdict: Detroit in 6 games.

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Vancouver Canucks (3)
This is easily the best series of the 2nd round. A rematch from last year’s Conference Semi-Finals, with a slight reversal. Last year, I’d say the Chicago Blackhawks were the stronger team. This year, I’d have to say the Vancouver Canucks are the stronger team. I believe the Canucks may have the most complete forward roster of any team in the Playoffs. All the lines are firing well and appear to be healthy. While the Blackhawks offense is more lethal and battle-tested than the young Los Angeles Kings, I still give the advantage to the Canucks. Both team’s have some injuries on defence, but I think this is a series that will see Roberto Luongo will steal a game or two for Vancouver. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I’m looking forward to Byfuglien & Luongo’s battle royale rematch. I can’t wait for this series to start!
Verdict: Vancouver in 7 games.

There you have it. These are my 2nd round predictions. What are your predictions?

Stay classy, NHL Conference Semi-Finals.

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The NHL’s 2010 Yearbook

April 28th, 2010

The NHL likes to do things a bit differently than other pro sports leagues. Shortly after the end of each regular season, the league releases it’s annual yearbook complete with typical “Most Likely To” and “Classy Photo” sections. Usually, most players receive their yearbook in the last week of April.

Apparently a lot of time is put into this tradition and players themselves vote on various categories. Don’t ask how, but I’ve manage to obtain a screenshot of a few pages from this year’s NHL yearbook. I’ve cut the left and right pages into 2 separate images for your viewing pleasure (below is a link for the full version)…

The NHL’s 2010 Yearbook (left page)


The NHL’s 2010 Yearbook (right page)


I highly recommend viewing and downloading the high-res image here.

Stay classy, annual NHL yearbooks.

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Thoughts leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline

March 2nd, 2010

Haven’t checked in since the epic Canada-USA Gold Medal game. As per my general policy, I won’t be reviewing the game. For the two or three people who didn’t watch it, you’ve probably seen enough highlights by now. And many other great outlets have covered the game with great depth. But a few quick points about this game: I really felt this was Ryan Miller’s worst game of the Olympics. I’m not saying his effort was Kipprusoff-esque, but he was so much better in every other game. That’s a tough break for him. I really felt Jonathan Toews was Canada’s best forward. The kid wasn’t on the ice for a single goal against – incredible. I’m not sure who I have a larger man-crush for: Toews, Drew Doughty or Shea Weber. Feel free to chime in!

So instead of discussing the Olympics, I want to touch on a few thoughts leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline (which is tomorrow, if you weren’t aware). We’ll be back to recap and evaluate trades on the 4th in our own Classy way.

  • With Nic Wallin (Sharks), Andy Sutton (Senators), Jordan Leopold (Penguins) and Denis Grebeshkov(Predators) all recently traded, it seems the market price has been set for experienced NHL defensemen – a 2nd round draft pick. Wow Calgary got ripped off in the Dion Phaneuf trade!
  • Of all the talk on pending UFA’s that could be traded, I haven’t heard Colby Armstrong’s name bounced around very much. I think he could really help out a contending team in the playoffs. The same goes for Colorado Avalanche forward Marek Svatos.
  • On a similar note and on the right team, Maxim Afinogenov could be of value too. I’m thinking of a team like the Washington Capitals. I was impressed with Afinogenov’s play at the Olympics – particularly the Canada-Russia game. He seemed like the only Russian with some fight in him. And we saw him backchecking/penalty killing. Who knew?
  • Following the “we’re going to dismantle the team” letter the Florida Panthers sent their season ticket holders, I’m yet to see any real changes. Trading Dominic Moore and Jordon Leopold isn’t really worth writing a letter about, you know?
  • I can’t remember an NHL Trade Deadline that had as many good goalies available (or assumed to be available). This year is certainly a rare one with goalies like Carey Price/Jaroslav Halak (one of them, potentially), Marty Turco, Tomas Vokoun, Marty Biron and others that could be moved by tomorrow afternoon.
  • It’s no secret the Edmonton Oilers would like to free themselves of a few bad contracts between now and tomorrow’s 3pm deadline. Did you know between Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, Fernando Piscani and Steve Staios, they make up an annual cap hit of $18.1 Million?
  • Staying on the Oilers, I really believe they will be trading Andrew Cogliano at some point. Following the Dany Heatley trade that never happened with Ottawa in the summer, Cogliano hasn’t looked comfortable playing in Edmonton this season. Call me crazy, but I could see Cogliano traded to the Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky. It’s just a matter of time until New York trades Dubinsky, after taking him to arbitration last summer (a slap in the face to any player). Can you imagine being Dubinsky and having Glen Sather tell you “I don’t feel you are worth more than $1.85 Million”? After seeing some of the contracts he’s handed out in recent years, I’d flip out. Anyways, I could see this deal happening in the summer, rather than tomorrow. This isn’t a rumour as much it is me thinking out loud and making a bold prediction.
  • Where do you tink Dan Hamhuis will end up? I’m guessing not Philadelphia. According to TSN, the Flyers have already offered Ryan Parent. I can’t see the Flyers adding to that offer. Ryan Parent will be a great defenseman. If this is what Nashville wanted for Hamhuis, they would have taken it. I’m going to guess Washington. Where do you think Hamhuis ends up?

Stay classy, NHL Trade Deadline.

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Headshots, and how to deal with them

February 3rd, 2010

If there is one term in hockey right now that is beaten to death, it’s “headshots.”

Even yesterday, without any recent provocation (Patrice Cormier notwithstanding), Sun Media printed an article on the topic, declaring that Canadians want to see headshots eliminated from the game of hockey. The only anomaly that they didn’t mention is that both metropolises of Ottawa and Edmonton voted overwhelmingly in favour of headshots being exclusively dealt to Dany Heatley.

With no solution in sight, I thought it might be prudent to make a few suggestions on what the NHL can do to eliminate headshots from the game.

  • Have Marty McSorley negotiate all future contracts for the NHLPA. The direct economic impact of his negotiating skills would create fear about potential brain damage.
  • At all NHL training camps, incorporate the new Chris Pronger Obstacle course. At the end of the course, have Chris Pronger get sacked by successful players. He may never elbow again. Or never ask to be traded for undisclosed reasons.
  • Have all helmets fitted with chaff release based on a proximity sensor located in players’ pads. When an approaching elbow or shoulder gets too close to the helmet, chaff is released, blinding the opposing player.
  • Offending players will be forced to gently stroke Alex Ovechkin’s sticks all day until they are warm, but not too hot to handle. While this may reduce scoring, the YouTube videos will be punishment enough.
  • Initiate simple retrofits to hockey helmets, featuring Viking thorns and German WWI spikes.
  • A player caught in the act of a headshot shall change his name to ‘Downie’, wear the number ’9′, and play every game against Matt Carkner, where he will be Carkner-fied.
  • Have the offending player traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, where their truculence will be initially welcomed until they realize they’re playing for Toronto.
  • Un-retire Bobby Clarke, and have him break ankles after each headshot.

Stay classy, unsolved NHL headshots.

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Surprising NHL goal scorers

January 23rd, 2010

When looking at the NHL’s leading goal scorers, there are the typical names like Alex Ovechkin (32 goals), Patrick Marleau (35 goals – current league lead), Ilya Kovalchuk (30 goals), Dany Heatley (29 goals), and others. There’s also a few names that might come as a surprise to hockey fans. Let’s take a look at some of the lower profile top 30 goal scorers this season:

Alex Burrows – Vancouver Canucks
Why this is a surprise: Alex Burrows has scored 23 goals this season for the Vancouver Canucks while averaging 16-20 minutes of ice time per game. Burrows has scored 13 goals in his last 10 games and is probably the best bargain in the NHL with a cap hit of $2 Million for the next three seasons.

Ryan Malone – Tampa Bay Lightning
Why this is a surprise: Should we really be that surprised Ryan Malone has 21 goals this season for the Tampa Bay Lightning? After all, he is playing with stars like Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, and others. I guess it’s the fact that Malone’s six goals shy of his career high (27) and has almost the same number of goals and points as he did in all of last season.

Patric Hornqvist – Nashville Predators
Why this is a surprise: Patric Hornqvist could probably be the most unknown 20 goal scorer in the NHL right now. He’s 23 years old and was selected 230th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft. This is Hornqvist’s second NHL season and he’s tearing it up on a low scoring Nashville team.

Stephen Weiss – Florida Panthers
Why this is a surprise: Stephen Weiss is already one goal away from tying a career best in goals for a whole season (20, back in 06/07) and is finally living up to expectations in Florida. For whatever it’s worth, Weiss’ shooting percentage is currently better than double what it’s been for the last two seasons.

Stay classy, surprising goal scorers.

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Olympic concern?

January 19th, 2010

In 2006, the top 4 Western Conference teams all lost in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, 2006 was the last time NHL players took 2 weeks off to play in the Winter Olympics in Turin. Also, 2006 was the last time the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs… and went to the Stanley Cup finals as one of the biggest underdogs in recent memory.

With the 2010 Vancouver Olympics less than 2 months away, NHL GM’s might be wondering what kind of effects the games will have on their star players and their chances to compete for the Stanley Cup. The potential for burnouts, demotivation, and injuries is very real. And any of those scenarios could have a crippling effect on the top 4 Western teams (as well as other powerhouse Eastern Conference teams like the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins).

At the time of writing this article, the top 4 Western Conference teams are the Blackhawks, Sharks, Avalanche, and Predators. Here’s a closer look at the players each team have participating at the Olympics:

  • Chicago Blackhawks – Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky
  • San Jose Sharks – Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Evgeni Nabokov, Doug Murray
  • Colorado Avalanche – Kyle Quincey, Paul Statsny, Jonas Holos, Ruslan Salei, Peter Budaj
  • Nashville Predators – Shea Weber, Ryan Suter,  Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, Marcel Goc, Alexander Sulzer

It makes you wonder if a Western Conference playoff team with less Olympic-bound players will squeak through each series like the Oilers did in 2006. Perhaps a team like the Calgary Flames (who only have 3 players going – Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, and Miikka Kiprusoff), or even the Phoenix Coyotes (who also have 3 players going – Zbynek Michalek, Sami Lepisto, and Ilya Bryzgalov) could have a better odds in the 2010 Playoffs because of this…

I’m not saying this will or won’t happen. It’s purely speculation. And I’m not suggesting that was the only reason the 2006 Oilers got all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, but it could be a partial explanation why the top 4 Western teams were defeated by lower seeded teams that year. If anything, this probably blurs the line that much more between the top and lower seeds in the West.

With the Western Conference being as tight as it is, the same questions can be asked about Detroit, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. These teams are sending a number of players to the Olympics as well.

While fans can’t wait for the Olympics hockey to get started, I’m sure GM’s across the league are dreading it. Or perhaps they are dreading the impact following the games. At any rate, it will be fascinating to see the effects these Olympics will have on these legitimate Western Conference powerhouse teams. And for a team like Chicago who’s Cup window is small to start with, that’s just another hurdle to climb through in order to meet expectations.

Stay classy, Olympic Western Conference stars.

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Canada’s Olympic team… Finally.

December 30th, 2009

As the title says, Canada announced their men’s hockey Olympic team, finally.

Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock are classy men.

While a country like Canada will always have more amazing players than available positions, I’m pretty happy with the final roster. Many can and will say ‘he should have taken him over him’, but I feel this is a pretty solid set of players. That can’t be improved that much.

I’m also pretty happy that the television coverage has ended – TSN can make a half hour special on anything, so I’ve come to learn this holiday season. Anyways, here’s the final roster, barring any unforeseen injuries.

Goalies
Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury

Defencemen
Dan Boyle, Chris Pronger (assistant captain),
Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook
Scott Niedermayer (captain), Drew Doughty
Shea Weber

Forwards
Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby (assistant captain), Jarome Iginla,
Brenden Morrow, Mike Richards, Patrice Bergeron
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal
Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley
Jonathan Toews

Of course, there will be debate as to who should of made the team and didn’t. Below is a list of notable omissions

Mike Green, Mike Fisher, Shane Doan, Marc Savard, Jeff Carter, Jay Bouwmeester, Stephane Robidas, Vincent Lecavalier, Dion Phaneuf, Patrick Sharp.

Anyone else I’m missing? What are your thoughts on Team Canada? Can Canada capture gold with this squad?

Stay classy, Steve Yzerman and Team Canada.

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Mike Cammalleri on Team Canada, are you kidding me?

December 15th, 2009

For the record, I don’t normally do this. I don’t normally read some article by some writer I’ve never heard of and immediately say “I’ve got to write a well worded response that addresses the original article in a timely manner”. Or something like that.

For one thing, I wouldn’t call my “writing” well worded. And this response is anything but well timed considering Jack Todd’s original article – the one that got me fired up – was published on Saturday.

But I don’t really care. Chalk it up to me making a point of how much I disagree with Todd’s views. Or how busy I am. But first, allow me to be cordial about this.

Readers, meet Jack Todd. Jack is a writer for the Canwest News Service. (Yeah, I don’t know what that means either). Jack writes for the National Post and Montreal Gazette, among other publications. Jack, meet the Classiest readers you’ll ever meet. Or hear about meeting. You get the point.

This past Saturday, Jack wrote a column suggesting Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri should be a lock for Team Canada’s Olympic hockey team. Yes, you read that correctly. Jack feels Cammalleri’s name belongs with Canadian superstars like Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, and countless others.

Jack even goes as far as hinting Cammalleri deserves a spot on the Canadian Olympic team more than Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley (purely because of his summer antics), and Rick Nash. I’m not even making this up.

As of writing this, Mike Cammalleri has 18 goals this season, good for 6th in the NHL. Don’t get me wrong – that’s impressive. But here’s the deal: For Cammalleri to play on this team and to be effective, you’d have to give him top 6 minutes. That’s what Cammalleri has received in recent years and done well with the Kings, Flames, and now the Canadiens. Cammalleri’s size and style doesn’t support a checking line role either. So in saying that, can anyone justify giving Cammalleri top 6 minutes with better and more effective players?

If Cammalleri is on the team, who do you cut? Whoever it is, that’s an awfully big risk.

Cammalleri has some international experience (a total of 17 World Championship games and 14 World Junior games), but he’s appeared in only 6 NHL playoff games in his career. Cammalleri has 10 points in those 17 World Championship games – hardly top 6 numbers. Compare that to the number’s we’ve seen Rick Nash or Dany Heatley put up and I think you have a definitive reason not to select Cammalleri.

Some may argue Steve Yzerman and co should be taking the players who are playing the best hockey right now (ie. not guys like Jeff Carter). That’s fair to say – but I can find other players playing as well or better than Cammalleri who have better international and playoff resumes. Point trumped, again.

Simply put, there’s no room for Cammalleri on this team. He’s a great player who’s consistently improved year over year, but I don’t think he’s good enough for Team Canada in 2010. If Canada could build 2 Olympic teams, then I’d agree with Jack Todd. But since the top 6 forwards need to be the best of the best, there’s no way Cammalleri can be considered in that elite group. The depth Canada has is far too deep. Maybe in 2014, Mike.

Stay classy, Mike Cammalleri… and Jack Todd.

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Thoughts on last night’s Senators-Sharks game

December 2nd, 2009

San Jose Sharks- 5, Ottawa Senators- 2,

Let’s get this out of the way – last night’s Senators-Sharks game didn’t feature any (Heatley) dramatics that will keep office water coolers busy all morning. That said, the game featured some pretty entertaining hockey and I found it particularly interesting to see how the Ottawa Senators played against the NHL’s top team.

A quick glance at the final score might suggest the Sharks easily won, however, the score could have been a lot different had a Chris Kelly tip gone in or if Jason Spezza buried a nice cross-ice pass. Excuses aside, the Senators played a decent road game, but it was clear they were out of their element versus the San Jose Sharks.

So without further delay, here’s last night’s Classy, Non-Classy, and Could-Have-Been-Classier moments.

The Classy

It feels like Milan Michalek is the Classy point of every Ottawa Senators game and last night was no different. I really liked Michalek’s neutral zone speed throughout the game. The San Jose Sharks did a good job of clogging the neutral zone and Michalek’s speed helped push back the Sharks defense to open room for the Sens as they broke out of their zone. (which says a lot considering how much trouble the Senators defense were having with standard breakout passes). Both of Michalek’s goals were the result of smart, go to the net plays Senators fans have become accustomed to. A great effort from Michalek in his first return to the Shark Tank.

An honourable mention goes to the quality of hockey played between the Senators and Sharks. While the game wasn’t a typical “emotional game” that featured unnecessary fights, lots of pushing and shoving after whistles, etc… the game featured solid hockey at a pretty fast pace.

Non-Classy

The Ottawa Senators defense were playing way out of their element last night. Kudos to Cory Clouston and the coaching staff for realizing the need to change styles in order to compete with the aggressive Sharks, but it wasn’t pretty. At one point or another, every Senators defenseman made costly giveaways that lead to the Sharks first 4 goals. A number of 2-on-1′s were given up early in the game as a result of defensemen being overly aggressive in the offensive zone. On top of that, it was apparent the Senators defense were having a hard time breaking out of their own end. Many routine passes became turnovers (Alex Picard and Matt Carkner come to mind), which turned into quality scoring chances for San Jose and probably nervous moments for Clouston.

Could-Have-Been-Classier

There were two area’s of Ottawa’s game that I felt could have been classier. Firstly, Ottawa took 3 straight penalties in the first half of the game – 2 of which being lazy ones (too many men and delay of game-puck over the glass). The Senators were playing with fire and eventually got burned just after the Carkner delay of game penalty ended.

Secondly, I was frustrated with how many Ottawa Senators shots missed the net, either wide or high. Clearly the Senators identified high shots as a weakness for Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss, but cross-ice shots fired wide often result in quick breakouts for opposing clubs. San Jose’s speed certainly caught Ottawa’s defense off guard a few times and let’s face it, Ottawa doesn’t have the quickest defense to begin with.

Special Dany Heatley Review

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this, but given the level of interest in this game, I’ll provide a quick Dany Heatley summary.  Heatley ended the game with 2 assists, a +1 rating, and 8 shots registered (although he probably attempted 12-15 shots). Heatley had some quality scoring chances and showed a bit of extra jump to his game. Oh, and he did have a few “stick in the air one-timer moments” Senators fans know all too well. Overall, a good game for Heatley. He’s probably glad to have that game out of the way.

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The Senators continue their road trip to Los Angeles to play the Kings on Thursday night in what should be another good test for Ottawa. The Kings have struggled lately, despite a win Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Chris Neil could suit up for the team although it’s not certain at this point. Anton Volchenkov made his return to the Senators line up last night, but wasn’t nearly as effective as he was a few weeks ago. I expect him to be better on Thursday. Chris Campoli was a healthy scratch to make room for Volchenkov.

Stay classy, Milan Michalek… and Dany Heatley.

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