Another One Goes Under The Bus

Q: Whats easier than ripping paper?
A: Ripping on a Heatley supporter.

A few weeks ago the neighbor of Dany Heatley’s parents wrote a widely criticized letter to the Ottawa Citizen. A lot of people were quick to jump all over it, including myself, and rightfully so. The article contained some bold statements that were easily contested. Molloy tried to pass a mule off as a horse, he embellished Dany’s defensive ability and stated that he was being used as a third line player, which was unfair given his skills. Of course we don’t need to rehash the entire column. We’ve all read it and many of us had a good laugh at Tom’s expense.

I simply assumed he was doing it to promote his new hockey coaching videos, as the insertion of that into the article lead me to believe that was his primary motivation. There was a lot of things in that article, that in hindsight don’t make a lot of sense. Some of the things within the article haven’t sat right, even days after the world had forgotten about Tom Molloy’s sermon. So we got in contact with Tom to get some more context for the issue.

Tom was very quick to tell us it was best at this point for him to keep his opinions of Heatley and Heatley’s position to himself. I can respect that, after all, getting your tongue lashed in public will make anyone speech shy for a while or maybe he was asked to look out for the best interests of the Heatley party?

We asked Tom about the letter and asked why he wrote it. The article, as it appeared in the Citizen, was actually a blend of the original letter and quotes from a telephone interview with Wayne Scanlan. As you read the original letter we obtained from Tom (below) you can see how the article itself was angled to portray both Tom and Dany in a poor light.

Tom knows his coaching, we gathered that from our correspondence with him. He watches Senators and Flames games in the mornings. He’s not an idiot or on LSD as I had previously suggested. He just happens to have a different opinion than the vast majority of Ottawa locals. He also suffers from a terrible case of personal bias on account of how long he has known Dany and his family — They even used to play on the same line with him on Sunday mornings. Just sticking up for an old teammate like Brendan Bell did.

It’s important to say that I’m not an apologist for Tom Molloy. I’m still of the opinion that some of Tom’s arguments are flawed. However, that’s not the point of this piece. What’s important is that context was lost in the article and pieces of what Tom’s arguments were manipulated to fit Scanlan’s agenda.

Scanlan’s article ran during the height of Dany Hate-ly mania and the angry mob was thirsty for blood. We needed our sacrificial lamb. Heatley’s camp has remained quiet and Tom’s letter represented the first non-Agent information that defended Heatley’s cause. Not surprisingly, Tom’s words weren’t met with empathy. If anything, he helped foster more resentment for the Heatley camp. Tom had walked directly onto a minefield. Keep in mind that the article was written by one of Ottawa’s better sports writers, just envision what could have happened had Tom addressed the letter to the Ottawa Sun.

Here’s the original letter courtesy of Tom’s website’s message board:

I wrote a letter to the Ottawa Citizen last week about the situation with Dany Heatley. A reporter called me and we talked for about 30 minutes. He wrote an article about the letter and discussion. I really only wanted the letter to be published as he tried to say what I was saying but missed some crucial points I wanted to make. I was writing the letter from My opinion of the players point of view. I wan’t speaking in place of the family or player.

I am pasting the letter here.

I can’t express how disappointed I am in the press and hockey fans concerning Dany Heatley’s request to be traded. I was talking with his parents Murray and Karin and they can’t believe the awful things that people are saying about Dany. He simply wants to play on a team that believes in his abilities.

The new coach has decided that Dany is a second or third line player and uses him on the second power play and plays him 14 minutes a game. Dany had many closed door conversations with him and was told that the situation would improve but it didn’t in the two months they were together.

I have been in this game for a long time and make my living coaching hockey. I see Dany making the right plays and doing his job defensively. Dany isn’t a hitter but he wins his one on one battles using skill. I ask myself how a guy with the best one timer in hockey and great vision be on the second power play?

I did a comparison of Dany and Iginla’s stats over 4 years he has been in Ottawa.

Goals: Iginla – 159 avg.- 39.75 Heatley – 180 avg. 45
Assists: Iginla – 189 avg.- 47.25 Heatley – 182 avg. 45.5
Points: Iginla – 348 avg.- 87 Heatley – 362 avg. 90,5
Plus/Minus Iginla – +42 avg. – 10.5 Heatley – +82 avg. 20.5

In that same time period Heatley has appeared in one Stanley Cup final which he was leading in scoring until Pronger jumped on his chest and injured him in the first game vs. the Ducks. Dany has also gone to the World Championships every time he has been asked to represent Canada and has led it in scoring twice and is the all time leading Canadian scorer.

Dany is a very nice person and is popular with his team mates and has proven that he is one of the best scorers in the NHL and also is a responsible defensive player. In the 07-08 season he was third in league with a plus/minus of +33.

Dany wants to be on a team that values him and puts him in situations that help the team succeed. If the Senators think he is a second line player then he wants to play somewhere that values him and will give him the opportunity to excel.

Don’t we all want to be treated with respect and fairness? Maybe Mr. Melnyk should ask his managers why one of his most valuable assets wants to go to a more positive environment.

Dany’s parents Murray and Karin are very disappointed that everyone has turned on him because he dares to ask to be traded to a team that will value him. They are frustrated that they have no forum to defend Dany.

This letter is to give him a forum.
Tom Molloy ~

The original piece in the Citizen can be read here.