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February 2, 2007

Dany Heatley

DAVID KEON: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon of the National Hockey League's public relations department, and I'd like to welcome you to our call. Our guest today is Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley. Thanks to Dany for taking the time today to answer your questions, and thanks to Phil Lageau of the Senators public relations department for arranging the call
Yesterday Dany was named as the National Hockey League's First Star for the month of January after leading the league in points with 22 and posting a league-high +14 plus-minus rating. The 26-year-old Calgary native is in his fifth NHL season, second with the Senators, leads Ottawa and is fifth in overall National Hockey League scoring with 67 points on 31 goals and 36 assists. With a record of 30-21-2 for 62 points, the Senators are tied for second in the Northeast Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference after 53 games played.
They host Toronto tomorrow night, visit Buffalo next Wednesday and have a home and home series with Montreal that starts next Thursday in Ottawa. Again, we thank Dany for joining us today to answer your questions. Operator, we'll open it up now.

Q. Congratulations on a great month. I want to ask you about your depth this year. It seems like you have more depth this year as opposed to last year, and last year was -- as far as the regular season goes, it was a better season for you. But do you have better depth overall, and can you compare this year to last year?
DANY HEATLEY: I don't know. I think we do. I think we lost some key guys, but with that, I think some other guys have got a chance to play a little bit more and step up and do a job. You know, guys like Verme, Antoine Vermettte, Patrick Eaves, guys like that, Chris Neil, have had a chance to get more ice time, be in more situations, and have done well because of it.

Q. What about getting Jason Spezza back to add to that great depth that you've mentioned already?
DANY HEATLEY: Oh, it's huge. I mean, with Kelly obviously we were going pretty good, and Spezza, Scafe and Fishy, those are two pretty good lines that can score on the ice, and the other two lines are chipping in. That's part of the reason why we had such a big month. We're getting scoring and big goals from a lot of people.

Q. I was just wondering, you guys have been so hot probably since right before Christmas. What's the benefit of catching fire around the midpoint of the season and kind of carrying that through into the stretch run?
DANY HEATLEY: This is the most important time of the year, the second half. It's very important obviously to get off to a good start, helps down the road. But we didn't have that going for us this year.
You know, you want to gain momentum and be playing at the top of your game when you do get in the playoffs obviously, but when we looked at January, because of the start we had, we thought we needed to have a huge month and pick up some points, and we did that. Now February and March are here, and these months are huge gaining momentum to the playoffs.

Q. And also, you said you guys kind of got off to a slow start. How much of that was dealing with the guys that you lost from last year's team?
DANY HEATLEY: You know, I really don't think that was the big reason. I mean, obviously those are some great players we lost, but we knew we had guys in there that were capable of doing good things and playing well. But I just think we weren't playing very well as a group, and individually I think it boils down to that. We were kind of all on different pages, and that's the reason why we didn't win very many games.

Q. How were you guys able to play so well while guys like Spezza and Fisher and others were out of the lineup? What carried you through that period?
DANY HEATLEY: I think a combination of things. I think, as I said before, we realized we had to have a huge month with what we had. I think we might have got a little bit desperate. I think first of all it started with Ray. He pulled some games for us in January, made some big saves and was consistent for the end of December and all of January, and it started from there.
I think the team got a little bit desperate. We had a little bit more commitment to playing it all at our end, and we were solid at our own end, and because of that I thought we scored a lot of goals on the other side.

Q. You've had the Leafs number now for certainly this season, where it never used to be that way. What's been the key there?
DANY HEATLEY: I don't know, I just think the first time coming here last year, when you play the Leafs, you just feel guys getting excited. The crowd is excited, both teams are excited, and I think we're a group that when we get excited to play, there's something really on the line, I think we play very well. That seems to be what happens when we play the Leafs.

Q. I know it's kind of interesting to hear you describe January playing desperate hockey. It's been the same story for Toronto, Raycroft has been playing much better and they've had a lot of big names out. How do you handle a team that's clearly as desperate as the Maple Leafs are?
DANY HEATLEY: It should be a good one, they always are. They always get -- I say we get pumped to play them. They always seem to raise their game when they play us, too. But, you know, every game now, everyone needs points. I mean, Montreal the other night, they were desperate. Everyone needs points, the race is so tight. Toronto is no different, we'll take them like we will anybody else.

Q. With the standings as close as they are, are there any teams that you look at as being more dangerous than others? Do you see any teams that have really picked it up down the stretch run here that you're maybe a little bit more leery of than you were at the beginning of the season?
DANY HEATLEY: I don't know in particular. I mean, there's five or six in there that are capable of making a run. I know Boston is one team that I think has games in hand. So they're right there, and Boston and Pittsburgh I think have games in hand on everybody. You've got to keep an eye on those two. But as far as the rest of it goes, every night -- Tampa is another one, they're right there.
You've really got to be ready and watch out for everyone going down the stretch here.
DAVID KEON: Thank you very much for your time today. Good luck.

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