Darby Hendrickson

Rest, tips from coaches helped Heatley rebound in playoffs

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Dany Heatley has struggled since arriving in Minnesota from San Jose.

He has often been put on the fourth line or scratched this season and both of those things happened to him in the playoffs. Wild coach made Heatley a healthy scratch in Games 1 and 2 and found himself on the fourth line when he returned to action in Game 3.

That didn’t stop Heatley in Game 7 against Colorado as he had a goal and, for a night, looked a little like the guy who was a threat to score any time he was on the ice he used to be.

As Jim Souhan of the Star-Tribune writes, Heatley credits that bit of rest and advice from assistant coaches Darby Hendrickson and Andrew Brunette for his bounce back.

“You kind of knew that if you get scratched and the team goes on a good run it’s going to be tough to get back in. I kind of took it as a positive, to get some rest. You’ve got to give Darby and Bruno a lot of credit. They really helped me, skating, working on different stuff that you don’t get to do if you’re in the lineup.”

Heatley is an unrestricted free agent after this season and while he’s not going to see the same kind of payday he had on this contract (Six years, $45 million), he’s playing for a new contract elsewhere. Taking advantage of his minutes the way he did in Game 7 would go a long way to helping himself.