Not Making Life Easy For Themselves

Two guys in the news right now are making their lives much harder than it needs to be because of strange decisions. The first is Dany Heatley, the Ottawa Senators’ sniper. Heatley hasn’t got along well with new Ottawa coach Cory Clouston, and he pouted his way through the second half of the season. His frustration was enough for him to demand a trade after the season ended. That’s a tough situation for the Sens – Heatley is talented, but he doesn’t always play well with others, and he is very expensive. The Kings, Sharks and Rangers all expressed interest, and it seemed like New York was taking the lead when they cleared salary cap space by trading away Scott Gomez to Montreal. Another team came through in the end, though – Edmonton. The Oilers had a deal in place, and they looked like they would add a new sniper for their new coaching staff to play with. Just one problem, though – Heatley has a no-trade clause, and he wasn’t willing to waive it to go to Edmonton, a team that doesn’t have a great reputation among current players. There is another level of difficulty – Heatley was due a $4 million bonus last night at midnight, and Ottawa was hoping to get rid of him before they had to cough that up. Now they have to pay it, and salary cap rules don’t allow them to recoup it from another team in a deal. The Sens therefore have to ask a bigger price for Heatley than they already were. Needless to say, Heatley isn’t a popular character in Ottawa.

I’m actually a little sympathetic to Heatley here. I think he’s a big baby for wanting to get out of a good situation where he has a very good linemate he clicks with. Still, the Senators decided to give him a no-trade clause with his last contract, so it is totally within his prerogative to exercise that clause if he wants to. If the Sens don’t like it then they shouldn’t have given him the deal in the first place. Exercising that right will make life hard, though. He’ll be harder to trade, and Ottawa might not be able to do it at all. He’s also seriously alienated himself with fans both in Ottawa and Edmonton. That means he can look forward to hostile receptions in both cities from now on. It’s a mess.

While I have just a little sympathy for Heatley, I have absolutely none for Calvin Borel. In fact, I think that the jockey is a total moron. He’s been fired as the jockey of Kentucky Derby winner Mine ThatBird because he was unwilling to commit to the horse for the rest of the season. The issue was the Derby winner’s next start – the August 2nd West Virginia Derby. Borel wasn’t sure whether he wanted to ride Mine That Bird there or Warrior’s Reward in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Borel has totally lost perspective here. Warrior’s Reward is a nice horse, but far from a star. Mine That Bird won Borel the biggest race on the planet, and did a whole lot to make Borel the minor star he is now. You don’t treat a Derby winner like this, and you certainly don’t do it twice – this is the second time he has hung the owners of the horse out to dry over his riding decision. Things would be different if it weren’t for the Belmont. There, Borel rode a terrible race that didn’t allow Mine That Bird to give his best effort. I don’t know about you, but I’d be in no hurry to screw over the connections of the horse after an embarrassing outing like that. Borel finds himself in a situation that almost every other jockey in the country would kill for, and he has managed to wreck it with his ignorant attitude. Unimpressive. There better be more to this than we see on the surface.

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