Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heatley, Setoguchi are in Minnesota to score goals, find houses

"Score goals and be good teammates."

That was Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher's justification for what's expected out of former San Jose Sharks Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, who met the Wild and the Minnesota media for the first time on Monday.

"They're very good guys. All the additions we made this year are quality people. They're regarded by their teammates as good teammates," he said (via Wild).

The day after he traded Martin Havlat to the Sharks for Heatley, Fletcher was asked on a conference call by an Ottawa reporter about Heatley's reputation as a poisonous influence in the dressing room. Fletcher firmly shot back that Heatley was "a quality person" and that he had done some character investigation before making this deal.

On Monday, Fletcher further downplayed the necessity for the Wild to be the get-along gang in the locker room.

"We're not asking everyone to be best friends. That doesn't happen. When they come to the rink, we want them to be pulling the rope in the same direction," he said.

Of course, the easiest way for any player to endear himself to new teammates (and new fans) is to produce as advertised. Heatley and Setoguchi are with the Wild to shoot dat puck, score dat goal, because as Fletcher said: "There's a direct correlation between shots on goal and goals scored."

The pessimist in me hears "score goals" as a primary objective for a player like Heatley and can't help but think about those long, squirmy stretches of the postseason for the Sharks in which Heatley's goal-scoring struggles were couched in praise about "the little things" he was doing besides putting the puck in the net.

It was the same sort of thing one heard about Marian Hossa during his various goal-less streaks in the playoffs, back when he was considered a playoff jinx.

Which is to say that when you trade for a player and set the standard at "score goals," he better bloody well score them. If Coach Mike Yeo is spending more time at the midpoint of the season talking about Setoguchi's speed and Heatley's back-checking than how much rubber they've pumped into a opposing nets, the Wild are screwed.

From the Wild, here are the former Sharks talking about expectations and finding a place to call home:

Here's some additional Heatley video from the Star Tribune.

Setoguchi on whether he'll live near Heatley:

"I think like three blocks away. I've got that pretty much taken care of. I'm going to look at a couple more places this afternoon, but I think Minneapolis is going to be the place I call home now."

Fletcher made an interesting comparison when talking about the kind of team he hoped the Heatley/Setoguchi Wild could become: One that could resemble the first few teams in franchise history, which were short on talent (Gaborik aside) but personified work ethic.

"We want to get back to being a team that's a hard team to play against," he said.

But, obviously, one that shoots the puck a bit more than those Lemaire teams.

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