Hockey fans in the nation's capital have had December 2 circled on their calendar ever since the NHL's season schedule was released, marking an opportunity for Sens Nation to finally voice their opinion on their chosen villain.
Dany Heatley returns to Ottawa tonight (TSN, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt) for the first time since demanding a trade in the summer of 2009, and not since Alexei Yashin's return as a New York Islander has there been such a buzz over a former Senator.
Heatley signed a six-year, $45 million contract extension with the team in October of 2007 that included a no-movement clause, then informed the team in June of last year that he wanted to play hockey elsewhere. After refusing a trade to the Edmonton Oilers, Heatley got his wish and the club sent him to San Jose before the start of last season.
Tonight, a packed house at Scotiabank Place finally has its chance to meet and greet their former hero with a surly a rain of jeers and taunts. But a lot of the fans will also use their creative side and express themselves through plain white bristol board.
So here's Dave's question to you: "If you were to hold up a sign at tonight's game (in Ottawa), what would it say?"
And here are the answers that Dave liked best:
Ian in Ottawa suggests this sign: "You Cashed Your 4 Million-Dollar Bonus. We Are 20,000 Fans. You Owe Us 200 Bucks Each."
Joseph takes note of the other big homecoming event of this night: "At least LeBron Honoured His Contract."
Trevor in Saint John: "The best sign is no sign. and no booing. Ignore him. That sends the loudest message."
Shawn in Toronto takes a shot at Ottawa with his message to Heatley: "I would rather be in San Jose, Too."
This comes from Robin in Ottawa: "Hey Dany, I'd have forgiven you if you had scored the Olympic winner, but you didn't."
Dave's reply to all:
How about a sign that says: "Question - who used to wear number 15 for the Senators? Answer - Peter Schaefer." Or: "Sens are 10th in the East, Sharks are 12th in the West - Who Knew?" But it winds up sounding hollow when an Ottawa fan tries to prove that Heatley is forgotten or has made no difference in San Jose, because there can't be a sign that says "We Won The Trade". Milan Michalek has had his moments, but injuries have made them too few, and in any event, it's tough to win a trade you're forced to make. The Senators wouldn't consider the idea, then or now, that forcing Heatley to honour his contract was the best thing to do, but maybe it was. Ottawa's leading goal-scorer since Heatley's departure is Mike Fisher - he's a good player, but he's not good enough in that department to lead a team with aspirations of playoff success. And one more sign: "We Will Find Out Why You Left, Dany - Wikileaks."