The Ottawa Senators are planning to build a case against Dany Heatley to recover more than the $4 million payment they made to the player on July 1. Eugene Melnyk and the Senators believe that they are owed more than the $4 million because the Heatley situation cost them damages over the summer.
According to an NHL source with Sun Media, the Sens believe that they can sue for damages after recovering the lump sum payment made to Heatley in July.
“They’ve got to show cause and prove damages,” an unnamed legal source told Sun Media. “I know there was a lot of skepticism out there about Melnyk’s chances (of winning the arbitration case), but don’t believe it can’t be done. There was a lot of negativity around the franchise because of the Heatley sideshow. What happened to their season ticket base? What happened to corporate sales?”
The basis for the case stands with the fact that Heatley refused the arranged trade with the Oilers by refusing to waive his no-trade clause. While this has certainly happened before, this marks the first time a team has elected to pursue the player through the courts for alleged damages.
We all know that Melnyk was less than pleased about penning Heatley that cheque for the $4 million, so this could be a vengeance-motivated ordeal more than anything else. In the back of his mind, the Senators GM has to know that this case doesn’t hold much water and that he’ll have to do an awful lot of cartwheeling to prove any damages were the result of the Heatley fiasco.
Attendance is down in Ottawa this season and they’ve seen a steady decline in season ticket holders too, but that decline began when the Senators dropped out of post-season contention and not when Heatley departed. Most of the team’s loss of revenue came when they missed the playoffs last year, so showing any cause-and-effect link between Heatley and the revenue decline will be tricky.
Even so, it looks like Melnyk is prepared to go through the motions here. He’ll drag Heatley into court soon enough and will continue the drama that should have died when the forward was finally moved to the Sharks.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.