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Heatley stokes playoff hopes

There's a new coach, a bigger defense and healthy goaltending in Atlanta, but the season depends on Dany Heatley.

Updated: September 8, 2003, 12:40 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | Special to ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- Who can say when a boy becomes a man, when a talented player becomes a leader?

Is it in the moment he leads his country to an unexpected championship?

Or lands on the cover of a video game box?

Or leads his team to a franchise-saving playoff berth?

For Dany Heatley, the answer may well be all of the above.

For the sake of his Atlanta Thrashers, it had better be so.

In a city where the rebirth of NHL hockey has been a difficult one, Heatley and, to ...

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