DENVER – No Wild player has scored more in the playoffs than Dany Heatley, but the veteran didn’t crack the lineup in Game 1 Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
Heatley, who scored 12 goals and had 28 points in 76 regular-season games and was a minus-18, was scratched in seven of the Wild’s final nine games. The Wild went 5-1-1 in the games he sat.
“Just the way the end of the year went, I was scratched in Phoenix and we kind of went on a tear, so it is what it is,” Heatley said. “I’ll stay ready. If I get in, I’ll be ready to go.”
Heatley, 33, who ranks 12th among active NHLers with 372 regular-season goals, has impressed teammates with how professional he has been the past few weeks.
“For a guy that’s done what he’s done in his career and has accomplished more than most of us in here and probably 95 percent of the guys in this league, it’s got to be tough to be filtered out of the lineup,” defenseman Clayton Stoner said. “But he says as long as we’re winning, he’s happy. That’s the type of attitude that you expect from one of your leaders.”
Heatley has shown no outward signs of moping or being a distraction.
“Trust me, yeah, it stinks. Of course, you want to play,” Heatley said. “I love playing in the playoffs. I think this is going to be a good series, I think this is going to be a fun series and you want to be a part of it. But at the same time, [coach Mike Yeo’s] putting the lineup in that he feels gives us the best chance to win.”
Heatley, who has 15 goals and 57 points in 66 playoff games and went to the Stanley Cup Finals with Ottawa in 2007, knows the lineup can change quickly in the playoffs because of injury, losses or poor performance.
“They generally do,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. If nothing happens, we’ll see. I’m just practicing hard and trying to stay sharp.”