And so, the Dany Heatley saga ends.
Or does the drama merely resume three hours later on Pacific Time?
We're about to find out.
After weeks of rumor and innuendo about where the talented winger would be willing to move, the disgruntled Ottawa Senator with the big contract and even bigger no-trade clause finally got his wish Saturday and was dealt to the San Jose Sharks for top young forward Milan Michalek, former Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round draft pick. The Sharks will also get a fifth-round pick from the Senators in the deal.
The Sharks add what they hope will be the impact player who will help break a string of embarrassing playoff failures.
Watch for sophomore coach Todd McLellan to throw Heatley and Joe Thornton together to see if the two can spin some magic. If they can, look for the two to put up monster numbers on the West Coast.
They'd better. After failing to advance beyond the second round since the 2004-05 lockout, including a humiliating first-round loss to eighth-seeded Anaheim this past spring after winning the Presidents' Trophy, the safety net is gone in San Jose.
Everyone's reputation is on the line at the Shark Tank, starting with GM Doug Wilson, who has traded away a bevy of top draft picks and prospects in the hunt for the Sharks' elusive first championship.
Earlier this summer, Wilson dealt defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to Vancouver to free up some cap room, clearly with the intent of assuming the final five years of Heatley's contract that carries an annual salary cap hit of $7.5 million. But Ehrhoff and those involved in Saturday's deal follow a well-worn pattern established by Wilson -- the jettisoning of valuable futures in the hopes of landing the right Stanley Cup combination.
Wilson has gone to the well often and, just as often, has come up empty. It started with Thornton, and then the Sharks added at various times Bill Guerin, Craig Rivet, Brian Campbell, Rob Blake, Dan Boyle, Jeremy Roenick and even the aged Claude Lemieux.
Now, Wilson brings in a literal hired gun in Heatley, a player who has twice scored 50 goals and has all the tools to be "the answer" in San Jose. If it weren't for the fact Heatley is Mr. Samsonite, carting along baggage galore, this would be a slam-dunk home run for the Sharks. It might yet be.
"It was tough. It wasn't the greatest summer, no question, the way it went down," Heatley said during a late-afternoon conference call Saturday. "I'm relieved. I think everyone was happy there was a resolution and we can move on."
One thing seems certain: This is the last stop on the line for Wilson and Heatley.
If the Sharks get bounced early again in the postseason, it will, or should, cost Wilson his job. For Heatley, the stakes are equally high. He will get paid, that's a given; but with his reputation already in tatters, he needs the Sharks to have success to legitimize his request to be let out of his deal in Ottawa and get people to forget the notion he is a petulant, spoiled player who begged his way out of Atlanta and then Ottawa because he was unhappy.
The fact Heatley turned down a trade to Edmonton will merely add fuel to the fire if he flames out in San Jose; it will reinforce that he is all about Dany with little left over for the team. If Heatley can't get the job done in San Jose, all the money in the world won't be able to change what is already a widespread belief about Heatley's character, or lack thereof.
Can he do it? Is this finally the move that has a Stanley Cup payoff for Wilson? Maybe. It'll be quite the redemption story for both if there is a parade at the end of this tale.
Wilson, as one would expect, insisted Saturday he has nothing but love for Heatley and "zero" concerns about the forward's apparent inability to find an NHL comfort zone.
"There's often cases where players ask for trades," Wilson pointed out. "Sometimes it is best for everybody involved."
Here's the irony in the whole Heatley soap opera. Perhaps the only person without his toes over the cliff is Ottawa GM Bryan Murray. Held over a barrel for most of the summer trying to accommodate Heatley's demand to be traded, Murray ended up with a pretty good deal despite the circumstances.
Michalek, 24, is big and talented, with three straight seasons of 23 or more goals to his credit. Then, there is the wild card, Cheechoo, who soared to the top of the NHL scoring list in 2005-06 with a league-best 56 goals. Since then, well, that number looks like an absolute fluke as Cheechoo has battled injuries and since seen his goal production drop from 37 to 23 to 12, respectively. Still, he'll get top-six minutes to start in Ottawa; if he can get back to 25-30 goals, then Murray will more than have replaced Heatley's contributions between Michalek and Cheechoo.
For a club that has never been able to get over being a one-line team with Heatley in the lineup, the Sens suddenly look a lot more balanced and should be back in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt after missing a trip in 2008-09.
All of which means that all eyes will remain firmly focused on Mr. Heatley and the man who brought him out west.
Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.