After months of rehabilitation, Atlanta Thrashers forward Dany Heatley appears to have dates set for his first game of the 2004 season.
Kevin Allen of USA Today reported on the NHL on TSN that Heatley is scheduled to return to the Thrashers' lineup Feb. 5 at home against Philadelphia, or after the All-Star break when the Thrashers travel to Heatley's hometown of Calgary to play the Flames on Feb. 10.
Heatley skated on Dec. 23, the first time since a car wreck that killed teammate Dan Snyder and left Heatley with a broken jaw and torn knee ligaments.
After Snyder died from head injuries, Heatley was charged with vehicular homicide. Test results showed he consumed a small amount of alcohol before the crash, with his blood alcohol content less than 0.015 per cent, far below the state's legal limit of 0.08 per cent.
Because Heatley wasn't drunk, and Snyder's relatives said they forgave him, prosecutors could decide the car crash was just an accident, with no need to pursue felony charges and sentences ranging from three to 15 years.
Heatley, the NHL Rookie of the Year in 2002, led Atlanta in scoring last season with a team-record 41 goals and 48 assists. He is the Thrashers' career scoring leader with 155 points. He scored four goals in the 2003 All-Star game and was selected the MVP. The former University of Wisconsin player was the second overall pick in the 2000 draft.
Great news for the Thrashers. His return could help them stop their recent nose dive.