Listen, it’s time for the good folks from Edmonton to get up off their knees and withdraw their proposal of marriage to Dany Heatley before the reluctant groom actually says “yes” in the absence of any other offers.
Don’t the Oilers get it? Their city is the last place in North America (other than presumably Ottawa and perhaps Atlanta) that Heatley wants to live, and their team is the last one in the NHL (insert a disclaimer or two) for which he wants to play.
Enough already with the bribery and the convincing. The team and the city look more than desperate. They are beginning to appear pathetic with their continued pursuit of the player who, for good reason, has become hockey’s most disdained individual.
We know. The Oilers have to overpay in order to entice players of Heatley’s on-ice pedigree to come to their city, and that’s the reason why Nik Khabibulin was able to get an over-35 contract worth $15 million over four years on July 1.
Still, after repeated attempts to appeal to Heatley (and his sense of … sense of what, exactly? Reality?), Kevin Lowe, now the club president, should stop debasing himself; Steve Tambellini, the GM, should count himself better off for the repeated rejections; Pat Quinn and Tom Renney, the coaches, should consider themselves fortunate not to have someone in their locker room who first thing will search for the emergency exit.
In addition to being humiliating, bribery never works. It is counterproductive. New York was the last place Mike Keane ever wanted to play, and he showed it after being bribed by the Rangers’ overly generous free-agent contract offer in 1997, playing so poorly he was shipped out before he completed the first season of a four-year deal.
Theo Fleury repeatedly announced that he wanted nothing to do with playing in New York until the Blueshirts waved $18 million under his nose in the summer of 1999 and he was able to figure out that he had nowhere else to go. Nowhere but down, that is, as he helped to take the Rangers with him.
The Oilers are better than this, and so is the city of Edmonton. It is time for this bended-knees pursuit of Heatley to end before this unwilling recruit changes his mind and accepts, promising to live happily ever after just the way he did last year in Ottawa.
Implications of the condensed Olympic-year schedule would seem to demand that the Devils fortify their goaltending situation so that Martin Brodeur, 37 years old and with all of two playoff-series victories since the lockout, could be safely limited to 62-65 games this season.
Instead, the current candidates for the backup job are Yann Danis, found lacking by the Islanders, and neophyte Jeff Frazee, who once sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees when he owned the Red Sox. (What? Oh, never mind, that was Harry Frazee.)
But still. Strange, strange offseason in New Jersey.
On the road even more
We can tell you this much about a potential bid to buy the Coyotes that would include a proposal to move a handful of games out of Phoenix to a different city — that city would not be Hamilton, Ontario, no how and no way.
When Jere-Me Roenick is right, he’s right: The Coyotes’ rink should have been built in Scottsdale, not Glendale, and Chris Chelios does want to play in New York, the latter of which Glen Sather has known since July 1.
So when do people like Alex Tanguay, Dominic Moore, Manny Malhotra and Manny Fernandez, left without chairs when the free-agent music stopped, follow Martin Biron’s lead and sign a current-market-value, one-year contract as a platform for next summer?
Malhotra, by the way, would seem a perfect fit for Jacques Lemaire’s Devils after serving with some distinction under Ken Hitchcock in Columbus.
The Bruins have to watch every penny in order to accommodate the cap, yet they turn around and give Derek Morris $3.3 million for one year? Don’t get it.
Nik Zherdev, we’re told, is submitting a bid for $4.5 million in his salary arbitration hearing that is scheduled for Friday. Rangers have not submitted their number yet but could come in under the Goodbye Guy’s $3.25 million qualifier.
Expect the award to be fixed at between $3.85 million and $4.15 million and expect the Blueshirts to run — not walk — away from Zherdev and the failed experiment.
This, by the way, a respected hockey man’s view of the ridiculously misguided and facile comparison between Zherdev and Alex Kovalev: “Apples and rotten oranges.”
This just in: The Islanders have signed Mark Fitzpatrick. Eric Fichaud and Tommy Salo. Plus Chico Resch to simulcast on television and radio while he’s in nets.