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Q&A with Dany Heatley

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Posted: Saturday June 24, 2000 08:40 PM

Dany Heatley , 19, went second overall to the Atlanta Thrashers. A 6-1, 200-pound left winger, Heatley played at the University of Wisconsin for assistant coach Mark Johnson , son of legendary Badgers' coach Bob Johnson . Coincidentally, the senior Johnson recruited Dany's father, Murray, to play in Madison some 30 years previously. Born in Germany, where his father was playing professionally in Europe, Heatley is considered a pure goalscorer, with enough size to play in traffic.

Q: Why opt to play U.S. college rather than major junior last year?
A: Because it's more of a skating league and more developmental. All the guys are a lot older. The average age is 21 or 22. They're more men than boys.

Q: How did you like playing for Mark Johnson after your dad played for his dad?
A: Mark's great. I worked with him more than I worked with [head coach] Jeff Sauer . Mark likes to get out there and play shinny with us. He helped me a lot this year.

Q: How do you feel about playing in the NHL right away as opposed to returning for your sophomore year? Some players -- Paul Kariya comes to mind -- benefited greatly from postponing a pro career for a year.
A: Different teams have different philosophies about bringing young guys in. It all depends on what they want to do. But I think another year of college would definitely benefit me.

Q: So where are you at with the Thrashers? Will you turn pro right away.
A: That's something we still have to talk about. All through the interview process, they were patient with me, they understood my situation. We'll talk after the draft.

Q: What's been the biggest change in your game over the past 12 months?
A: First of all, just playing at that college level means your skating improves. I also learned a little more about defensive play. Maybe the biggest thing was just maturing. I gained 20 or 30 pounds. Part of it is being in the weight room more than in junior, but a lot of it had to do with just physically maturing.

Related information
Q&A with Rick DiPietro
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Q&A with Rostislav Klesla
Q&A with Raffi Torres
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