Watching the Wild, that is. At times it's ecstatic, frustrating, and ridiculous.
Well, watching Dany Heatley is mostly ridiculous. It's also a bit voyeuristic watching him not do anything.
I don't want to tell Dany what to do, but part of me wishes he would take some time off to see the game from above. As Michael Russo has reported, Matt Cooke learned to see the game differently and change his game. As Wild fans, we saw how Andrew Brunette could be effective and skate slower than a sloth in a hockey helmet. As reported, Dany came to camp this season in great shape, ready to be a lean, mean, scoring machine.
The machine is broken.
For Cooke, the impetus was another suspension, with 10 games off, he spent his time watching video. Dany clearly needs a wake-up call. He's in the midst of the worst drought in his career, and isn't doing anything substantial on the ice.
I would say "Waive him and send him to Houston" (Yes, I said Houston. Yes, I know the Wild's AHL affiliate is in Iowa.) but it appears he has an NMC in his contract (per Capgeek), so that appears to be a no-go. Still, maybe some time in the press box, or a video marathon with Brunette might give him some tips or tools that would get his game going. If anyone knows how to score goals with the same handicap (such as it is) that Heatley has, it's Brunette - he scored 25 goals as a 36 year old.
There's got to be a lesson there. Is Bruno Crash to Heater's Nuke?
Does Heatley want to learn? What's his wake up call? Is he going to have a Cooke moment when he realizes he needs to do something different? He seems to have had a moment this summer (or before?) and made an effort to get his body in a better place. Now he's got to get his head in the right place before he can get the real benefits out of the situation.
Now, I don't want to say that Heatley is responsible for the Wild's scoring woes. But for a dude making $5 mil a year and a 7.5 mil cap hit, he's got to score more than Mike Smith.