Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hossa and Heatley: the NHL's two biggest losers

Raise your hand if you're
an overpaid goal-suck.

Wow, that guy up there is a dick.
What do Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa have in common?

Four things come to mind:
  • They're both in the news this weekend
  • They were once traded for each other
  • They were both responsible for tragic, careless accidents that we've all apparently agreed to never mention under any circumstances
  • They're both losers.
Let's look at Hossa first. As everyone knows by now, Hossa was part of last year's Cup losing Penguins squad, turned down a big offer so he could jump ship to Detroit because he thought they had a better chance of winning, then lost against last night to the same Pens team he snubbed. In other words, he might want to check if his Magic Eight Ball is still under warranty.

Hossa's failure to win means one of hockey's strangest facts still holds true: the Senators have never drafted a player who has won a Stanley Cup. Anywhere. Ever. (Update: Except for Stan Neckar? See comments.)

They're at 0-for-151 and counting. Even the Leafs, a team known for screwing up all those rare draft picks that they didn't trade away for senior citizens, have managed to pick at least three four Cup winners since the Sens joined the league.

Three is the loneliest number

At the end of game seven, I wondered via Twitter if Hossa was the only player from the game who wouldn't have a Cup ring. A few folks pointed out that Ty Conklin and Jonathan Ericsson would also fall into the category.

So there you have it. Out of forty players from last night's game, three went home without a championship on their resume: a rookie, a backup goalie, and a veteran superstar who chooses his team based on whoever he thinks has the best chance at winning. I'm not sure if that should make Hossa feel better or worse.

One thing you can say in Hossa's defence: at least he's a loser against his will. At least he wants to win. Which is more that we can say about Dany Heatley.

Yes, Heatley. The guy who was perfectly happy playing under coaches like Craig Hartsburg and John Paddock even though the team was awful. After all, he was getting his ice time, racking up the stats, and being coddled by coaches who certainly weren't going to ask him to do anything crazy like play defence or actually work hard.

Then along comes Cory Clouston. Now, Clouston's winning record in the second half of the season is over-hyped (the Sens didn't face an actual starting goalie after November). But he deserves credit for at least trying to demand some accountability from Ottawa's notorious band of primadonnas. Apparently, that was just too much for Heatley to handle.

And while the rift with Clouston has been the big news, apparently there's more to Heatley's unhappiness. According to GM Bryan Murray, Heatley felt that "being questioned by the media wasn't fair, so I was told".

Let's take a second to digest that: Dany Heatley can't handle the Ottawa hockey media. The glee club. The pom-pom brigade. The group that does everything but form a human pyramid in the press box.

Brennan comes clean

Even the Sens' head cheerleader, Don Brennan, admitted as much earlier this week, saying that once Heatley was gone he'd "long for the day he was back in Ottawa, where for various reasons he was an object around which a lot of tip-toeing was done."

If Heatley can't handle Ottawa, how's he going to do in a market where the media is actually allowed to get critical? As Brennan rightly points out, "Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons would make Heatley cry like a schoolgirl".

Since it's virtually impossible to find a team with a more homer-ish media than Ottawa, Heatley will apparently just need to find a city where hockey gets no coverage at all. So that narrows his choices down to just, oh, two-thirds of the western conference.

For once, Sens fans really do have something to cry about

It's almost impossible to feel bad for Senators fans, a notoriously insecure group of front-runners who fundamentally misunderstand their place in the hockey world. But in this case, you have to offer up some sympathy. Dany Heatley stabbed them all in the back, and now they're going to have to watch Murray make a three-quarters-for-a-dollar trade just to get rid of him.

(And just wait until he starts using his NTC to veto potential deals...)

So here's a little tip for Marian Hossa, a soon-to-be-UFA who'll be able to once again pick whichever team he thinks has the best chance of winning next year: Wait until Heatley is traded before you sign.

That way, you'll have at least one team you can definitely cross off your list of contenders.


  1. Quite possibly your best post of the year, DGB. Razor-edged, wickedly insightful and side-splitting hilarious.
    Hats off to you and to the very pleasant surprise of discovering you this fine and interesting year in the NHL.

  2. Who are the 3 players that Leafs drafted that have won the cup?

  3. Well said man. Here's hopin that the whiny little immature brat Heatley gets demoted to the AHL so he can get to ride the buses. And even as a leaf fan i'll call it a good move if heatley gets traded for a bag of pucks. Any team with a self centered snob is not going to win.

  4. @Wakaluk...

    Three that I could find are Grant Marshall, Shawn Thornton and Landon Wilson.

    That was from a quick scan, there may be a couple more.

  5. Interesting read DGB, always look forward to your posts. Keep 'em coming

  6. Since it's virtually impossible to find a team with a more homer-ish media than Ottawa, Heatley will apparently just need to find a city where hockey gets no coverage at all. So that narrows his choices down to just, oh, two-thirds of the western conference.

    Or, he could always come back to Atlanta.

    Oh wait....

    Great post, DGB.

  7. Oh yea, wasn't this the same guy who was "excited about playing in a real hockey town?"


  8. DGB, Freddie Modin also won a cup with Tampa Bay.

    But I think you've otherwise nailed the list since Ottawa's first draft in 1992. 4-0, Leafs.

  9. As was mentioned in the comments of the link.

    Stan Neckar was drafted #29 overall in the 1994 entry draft by the Ottawa Senators and won a cup with Tampa Bay in 2003-2004.

  10. Re: Neckar... he played two games for TB in the playoffs, but not sure if they were in the finals so he may not have his name on the Cup.

    Still, he was on the roster.

  11. According to Wikipedia, Neckar didn't qualify to be listed on the cup, but Tampa asked the NHL for permission and it was granted. So, his name is on the cup.

  12. They put his name on the Cup for playing two games all year?

    Why does the NHL even have that rule?

  13. @ Neckar
    It's lame, so we'll put it aside.

  14. Say what you want about Heatley, but he is a top 10 scorer in the league if not top 5 and if not for the cap hit, any team would be grateful to have him. He's a 50-goal player who is still in his prime, and is currently at a salary level on par with other players of that production grade.

    I haven't read anything outside of editorials stating that Heatley has 'demanded' to be traded, but maybe I'm missing the convention between 'demanding' and 'requesting'.

    I'm a fan of your site, and generally think you've got a great mind for the game and comedy. I just don't get the propaganda and character bashing surrounding a player who is unhappy on his team. If he declared (him, not his manager) he'd sit out the season rather than play, I'd understand, but right now its just seems like his only real failing was in allowing this to become a public matter than within the confines of the organization.

    and LeafFan1989, you come off as a tool.

  15. @El_Gringo...

    I've seen media reports that have called it a "request" and others that have said "demand", but at this point I think that's a distinction without a difference.

    Heatley's people have been pretty clear that he expects to be playing elsewhere next year. There's no reason for Heatley to make any threats of sitting out right now, with the season four months away. But it's fairly clear that Murray had no intention of dealing Heatley, and now he's going to have to.

    And you're right that we've been hearing from Heatley's management so far instead of the man himself. I think that his refusal to address this publicly is just more evidence of the type of player we're dealing with here.

  16. I don't understand why people bash Europeans for only caring about the World Cup/Olympics... and now when a guy shows he wants to do what it takes to win the Stanley Cup they bash him.

    Just doesn't make sense to me. (BTW, I am neither a Pens or Wings fan)

  17. So, Heatley to Carolina (and Paul Maurice) for Samsonov, the rights to Jokinen, and a first?

  18. awesome post again, much enjoyed.

  19. Funny, you'd think Heatley would be better at crashing the net.

    Or be good as a penalty killer.

    Although he doesn't know how to get out of a losing skid.

    Are there any hockey phrases that involve the phrase "vehicular manslaughter" because I'm all punned out.

  20. A little filler material for El Gringo.

  21. Alright. I'm a Sens fan and run a Sens blog. Well, since April its been more like an NHL blog.

    At any rate, I like your blog and think your writing is pretty funny. And I agree with you that Heatley's trade could very well impact Hossa's UFA summer.

    You are harsh to Sens fans... though we may merit some of it. A little, maybe. Anyways, strong blogs!

  22. I'm not sure that Hossa's lack of a cup ring is particularly interesting, given that:

    - one of the teams (Pittsburgh) had just won the cup, so all its players have rings
    - the other team (Detroit) won the cup last year, so all its returning players have rings

    So that pretty much just leaves the new guys for Detroit. And it's a short list... astounding!