Up Around the Bend

Lowetide
September 13 2010 07:28PM

Sheldon Souray has turned over a new leaf. His comments in this tsn story explain away the spring comments and point to the promise of a new season. The question is: will Oilers management feel the same way? 

I'm not certain the Oilers management group will forgive and forget. We have a wealth of case histories on the subject, dating back to Comrie and Smyth and beyond. Oilers ownership/management have traditionally had long memories and short fuses when it comes to star players who won't march in lock step.I believe Sheldon Souray gets traded in the next couple of weeks. It takes two to tango, and when Souray says:

  •  "I'm here in camp, and I'm here to do the best that I can and I want to keep things positive.  I have something to prove to myself first of all and to my teammates and to whoever has doubted me.  I'm using that as motivation for this year.  I'm focused, I'm ready to go and I'm healthy and those are the main things."

it represents exactly half of the equation. If Steve Tambellini tells the media "all is forgiven" Oiler fans can officially consider their blueline upgraded from a couple of weeks ago. However, that would run counter to what we've seen in previous years. This is a very good time for Steve Tambellini to prove he is not only the man in charge, but the man who should be in charge.

We wait.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 book¡e
September 13 2010, 09:44PM
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@jeanshorts

Montreal told Laraque to go do whatever he wanted, just don't show up for work because they could not send him down and they could not trade him.

The Oil are looking at re-entry I am sure.

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#52 Chris.
September 13 2010, 09:46PM
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How can Souray earn another contract if he is not allowed to compete for the chance to play during this contract? If this plays out nasty; Souray could very well have legal grounds to sue the organization. He could argue that they are dealing in bad faith.

Look I'm not on Souray's side here... but I'd hate to see further legal ineptitude by Oiler management cause further damage to the franchise. Remember these are the same clowns in Kingsway who didn't know Brule was waiver eligible, or the true deadline on Heatley's bonus, etc., etc.

I'd bet dollars that Souray and his agent consulted a lawyer and know the Oilers have to at least let him attend the physicals. Life is never very simple.

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#53 PabstBR55
September 13 2010, 09:48PM
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@book¡e

Re-entry waivers is probably a fair conclusion. And likely not the one Tambellini envisioned when he ventured down this path.

Misreading the trade market is a bizatch.

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#54 Travis Dakin
September 13 2010, 09:48PM
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Chris. wrote:

How can Souray earn another contract if he is not allowed to compete for the chance to play during this contract? If this plays out nasty; Souray could very well have legal grounds to sue the organization. He could argue that they are dealing in bad faith.

Look I'm not on Souray's side here... but I'd hate to see further legal ineptitude by Oiler management cause further damage to the franchise. Remember these are the same clowns in Kingsway who didn't know Brule was waiver eligible, or the true deadline on Heatley's bonus, etc., etc.

I'd bet dollars that Souray and his agent consulted a lawyer and know the Oilers have to at least let him attend the physicals. Life is never very simple.

He doesn't have to earn a contract by playing this season. He could sit for the remaining 2 years of his contract and get an invite to camp from any team. He'd have to earn his contract there.

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#55 jake
September 13 2010, 09:49PM
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Has any player who put an Oilers jersey on since September 2007 publicly supported Souray's allegations he was forced/pressured to play hurt?

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#56 Chris.
September 13 2010, 09:59PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

He doesn't have to earn a contract by playing this season. He could sit for the remaining 2 years of his contract and get an invite to camp from any team. He'd have to earn his contract there.

You and I both know that Souray can't sit for two years and then earn another NHL contract. If Oilers management can't show reasonable grounds for their actions (other than he said some bad things that hurt our feelings)... Souray could sue the Oilers; even if only in a civil court for loss of future income. If Souray's career is ended by this; why wouldn't he take legal action in the future? Besides: who looks more childish and unprofessional right now: Souray or Tambellini?

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#57 RossCreekNation
September 13 2010, 10:00PM
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Via Darren Dreger...

Souray told TSN he received an email today officially stating he would not be invited to camp and should standby for further instructions.

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#58 Tyler
September 13 2010, 10:06PM
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Legally, my gut feeling is that the Oilers probably don't owe Souray anything other than $9MM over the next two years.

Looks like they really didn't tell him he wasn't welcome until today though. That tweet earlier from them was completely bogus. A real top notch organization they're running here. Impressive stuff.

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#60 Chris.
September 13 2010, 10:11PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well the Oilers must have some proof they sent some kind of word to him. Seriously. This should be a very easy item to verify.

Some-one is ly-ing. Again.

Let's ask Quinn about the planned succession one more time now that everyone has their story straight... shall we?

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#61 Tyler
September 13 2010, 10:12PM
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They seem to now be saying that they told him last week they were thinking about it and said it was for sure in an email today. I would guess that TSN story got them jumping.

What a bunch of clowns. Why couldn't this decision be made last week? This is turning into a real thing with Tambo. 20 months to realize the team was garbage. Then he dicks around with Quinn for a while. Then he dicks around with Daum. Prendergast gets axed in a hotel lobby. There were scouts who got fired late, weren't there? Now this, when there was no reason this decision couldn't have been made weeks ago.

I'd call for less assessing and more deciding, but I haven't really been wowed by his deciding either. It just gets a litter tiresome to have the Oilers look stupid every two weeks. I can hardly wait until they piss away the advantage of having these young guys who might be something.

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#62 RossCreekNation
September 13 2010, 10:12PM
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@Tyler

Via McKenzie (as I'm sure you've seen)...

Dreger reports Oilers called Souray's agent Friday to inform him they were considering this. Agent asked for decision in writing. Oilers sent email to agent this aft stating team did not want Souray to attend camp and asked Souray to stand by for further instructions.

So... they told him Friday, he asked for it in writing, so they got that to him Monday... doesn't seem all that outlandish to me. They're each putting their own spin on it.

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#63 godot10
September 13 2010, 10:12PM
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Tambellini alienates Curtis Foster, Ryan Whitney, and Tom Gilbert by bringing Souray back, because Souray would be taking away power play time from each of those guys (and thus, future salary by depressing their stats). And if you don't give Souray power play time, he would become a problem in the room.

Better to alienate the player you want to dump (Souray) than alienate the players that you are keeping for the long term.

Souray is a sunken cost. Katz understands what a sunken cost is. He will be off the books in two years, when the Oilers will need his cap room to re-sign everyone.

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#64 RossCreekNation
September 13 2010, 10:17PM
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@Tyler

Maybe they waited til the last possible second, so as not to completely devalue him 2 weeks ago, thinking a trade was still a possibility. Had they said he wasn't welcome 2 weeks ago, you would have been all over them for (further) devaluing an asset earlier than was necessary.

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#66 RossCreekNation
September 13 2010, 10:23PM
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@Lowetide

So if the Oilers told Souray last week, but Souray wanted it in writing, and then the Oilers got it to him in writing today... when did they tell him?

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#67 striatic
September 13 2010, 10:24PM
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so i guess the oilers now hope that other teams start making souray offers lower than his current contract, and hope again that he takes someone up on one of those offers.

it's a gamble, but cold get the contract of their hands.

the whole situation is depressing. should never have come this far.

i wonder what the PA's take on the issue is.

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#69 Chris.
September 13 2010, 10:27PM
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Tyler wrote:

Legally, my gut feeling is that the Oilers probably don't owe Souray anything other than $9MM over the next two years.

Looks like they really didn't tell him he wasn't welcome until today though. That tweet earlier from them was completely bogus. A real top notch organization they're running here. Impressive stuff.

What if Souray went to the press, the league, and the NHLPA, and said, "Playing Hockey is what I love more than anything. By their actions today, the Oilers are trying to force me to walk away from my contact in order to continue my playing career. It is my belief that the Oilers are acting in bad faith and are intentionally leveraging my passion for the game of hockey in an attempt to circumvent my guaranteed contract. I'm deeply disappointed and will be filing a grievence with the union and will confur with legal council regarding my options moving forward."

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#70 Cervantes
September 13 2010, 10:28PM
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Wow.

So, there are a few possibilities:

1) Tamby is going to run him thru re-entry waivers and hope someone bites, and pay the 5.4M over 2 years to get rid of him. And Big Sex at 2.7M is a pretty good look for a lot of clubs.

2) Tamby has a deal lined up, probably with a cap-floor team that needs to take someone on. I believe the Isles and the Avs are both in this boat. 2 years of Shelley is enough to take them to the next round of RFA signings. Could have some legs.

3) He's actually found some sort of trade that works, somehow, with someone. Probably with a bad contract coming back, but there's some people I wouldn't feel horrid taking. Brian Rolston, Ribero, Redden, etc. Not sure how he could pull this off, but he's a god if he does.

4) Tamby and Katz are going to sit him for the remainder of his contract and eat the remaining 9MM cash left.

5) Tamby is going to send him to the minors with a "gentlemans agreement" that he not report, thus voiding his contract a la Sykora last year, and getting everyone out of this situation. Shelley signs with another team for a reasonable 1-year and everyone moves on.

Of all the options, I think re-entry or failure-to-report are the two most likely.

I'm really curious about the timing of all this, as Quinn is back in town, and he had nothing positive to say about Sheldons choice at the time. Did he put a bug in Tambis ear? Or did Katz have a talk with ST and tell him to solve it, money isn't an issue? Or did Lowe sit Steve-o down and tell him how we handle things in OilTown?

Or, did Steve Tambellini just get so riled up over what Sheldon had to say last year, so incensed at the slight, so miffed at the insult, that he refuses to have the man in his organization at all, no matter what the cost to the team?

The bottom line is that, from a pure hockey sense, a semi-healthy and motivated Sheldon Souray is an asset to a team that needs assets, a veteran on a team of youngsters, a goal-scorer in an arid desert of low scoring, and a guy who, when he shows up, can change a game. Tambi has just thrown that away. A proud guy like Shelley will not play nice after this very public insult. He won't come to camp later, he won't issue a public apology, he won't report to the minors, and he'll be a thorn in the Oilers side until he's out of town and his house is sold.

Regardless of the fine details, Tambi has succeeded in making a very public mess of this, weakening his hockey club, and possibly crippling our cap situation for the next 2 years. In addition to pissing off a very vocal and public player, and making himself look like an ass to the NHL at large.

Good work, ST. Good work.

*sniff* Goodbye, Big Sex. Goodbye. *single tear*

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#71 duane
September 13 2010, 10:30PM
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So why did Tambo lie about 1-2 weeks ago and say he could come to camp?What the hell are these guys doing??

Duane

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#72 Cervantes
September 13 2010, 10:31PM
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@Chris.

Guaranteed contract just means money. It doesn't mean playing time, or even what league. And it's binding to both parties. Souray can't walk, neither can the Oilers.

He can whine and complain and hold a presser every day to say how much he misses the game. The Oilers have his rights, they can sit him for as long as they want, as long as they pay him.

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#73 Chris.
September 13 2010, 10:34PM
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Let's just say this, If Souray isn't traded soon, or even worse, is forced to bail on his contract in order to continue his playing career: I hope he lands far, far away. We don't need Souray wearing a Wild jersey and using our kids as pawns to settle a score with the organization.

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#74 jeanshorts
September 13 2010, 10:36PM
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Chris. wrote:

What if Souray went to the press, the league, and the NHLPA, and said, "Playing Hockey is what I love more than anything. By their actions today, the Oilers are trying to force me to walk away from my contact in order to continue my playing career. It is my belief that the Oilers are acting in bad faith and are intentionally leveraging my passion for the game of hockey in an attempt to circumvent my guaranteed contract. I'm deeply disappointed and will be filing a grievence with the union and will confur with legal council regarding my options moving forward."

Souray was the one that said how horrible he management was, and then demanded a trade.

Just because he changed his mind after he found out 30 NHL teams don't want him doesn't mean the Oilers have to change their stance about not wanting someone on their team that didn't want to play for them six months ago. You're acting like the Oilers are holding a gun to his head just to get rid of a bad contract, or trying to ruin his life because of some kind of personal vendetta, which, as far as I can see, is clearly not the case.

Also, they're not preventing him from getting another contract. I'm sure the Oilers would love if Souray just picked up, and left for another team, but there is no way he leaves 9 mill on the table just because he doesn't like the boss. And the Oilers aren't going to buy him out cause that would hurt the team far worse in the long run than a disgruntled defenseman talking crap about a team that everyone already talks crap about anyway. Both parties are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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#75 striatic
September 13 2010, 10:40PM
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"So why did Tambo lie about 1-2 weeks ago and say he could come to camp?"

it isn't necessarily a lie. he might have simply been indicating that the organization hadn't made up its mind yet.

ST entertained a remote possibility in a media scrum not primarily about the souray issue.

on the other hand, it could have been a bald faced lie.

it depends on what the "could" could mean in the context ST used it but jeez why do we even have to have this stupid conversation - the org should have either dealt with the issue or said absolutely nothing about it until they knew what they were doing.

amateur hour.

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#77 Duane
September 13 2010, 10:42PM
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@ Chris

I don't like what he did either......but why all the changes after what he said?? Do you think it's possible he might have been a little bit right?And i know you can say he shouldn't have handled it that way,but sometimes things have to get out that way in order for people to wake up and make changes

Duane

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#78 Cervantes
September 13 2010, 10:42PM
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I think it's fair to say that no matter where he ends up, Big Sex is going to use the kids for batting practice every chance he gets. We better hope he bails for a KHL payday. That's the only way we're getting out of this without scars. He is a big, mean, proud man that we have made very grouchy.

I think another thing is telling from this week. Big Sex. Quinn. Daum. Prendergast. Various scouts. Our old Falcons coach. Plenty of signed prospects who've gone on the record saying they have no idea what the Oilers plan for them is, or even if they like them, or remember them. Tambo is quickly cultivating an image as a guy who can do a decent hockey deal, but can't deal with people to save his soul. Too many people find out things too late, and too poorly, for this to be a coincidence. I have a sneaking suspicion that if this keeps up, Katz will give him a good punt out the door.

You can't have a first class organization when you treat your people like this. No matter who you hire or what trades you make. Right now we have a great team filled with at least 3, possibly 4, Calder potentials, and we're all talking about how another failure to communicate made this player even more angry about our failure to communicate. We should be pumped, and instead we have Big Sex in the news, and the looming reality that he's not coming back, we have a hole to fill, and we won't make a move to fill it.

Frankly, if this was the plan, the Oil should have bought him out and chewed the 2.7 cap hit for the next 4 years. It's a bit rough, but take your lumps and move on.

A wise man once said "Don't be a dick." Tambi needs that on his wall.

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#79 Zamboni Driver
September 13 2010, 10:43PM
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Tossing this grenade out there....

Tambellini = Macocia.

Discuss.

(Begin with the fact I probably misspelled both names.)

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#80 David S
September 13 2010, 10:44PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Via McKenzie (as I'm sure you've seen)...

Dreger reports Oilers called Souray's agent Friday to inform him they were considering this. Agent asked for decision in writing. Oilers sent email to agent this aft stating team did not want Souray to attend camp and asked Souray to stand by for further instructions.

So... they told him Friday, he asked for it in writing, so they got that to him Monday... doesn't seem all that outlandish to me. They're each putting their own spin on it.

Dude. They told him on Friday they were THINKING about it - "...Oilers called Souray's agent Friday to inform him they were considering this."

Souray's agent probably tells him there's no firm decision. So he shows up for first day of camp, then probably gets the news after session.

My guess is a trade is in the works and Tambellini doesn't want to complicate things further by having Souray do interviews with the media because he's a wild card.

Man this is a crappy situation. They should have told him to stay away on Friday, not "We're thinking about it."

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#81 Zamboni Driver
September 13 2010, 10:44PM
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Oh and please.

For the love of god.

The General Manager DOES NOT GET A FRICKIN' NICKNAME.

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#82 a lg dubl dubl
September 13 2010, 10:46PM
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so if tamby tells sheldon not to report for "actions detrimental to the team" will he do the same to khabby. They both did something that puts a black eye on the club just in different aspects. I hope he does otherwise ST will look like the biggest douche

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#83 Cervantes
September 13 2010, 10:48PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I wonder if Souray's change of heart came from his agent calling around the league and finding out the market is so poor. The Oilers are most certainly not the model organization, but Souray has really put himself in a difficult situation.

It looks fractious and vicious from my pov. The Oilers will move on and live to fight another day. Souray? I can't help feeling he's going to pay a heavy price.

Maybe he just sat around for a summer, watched most of the staff moved on, got over feeling sorry for himself for being injured, and got excited for the season? Seems like a normal progression to me.

Certainly doesn't hurt the clarifying of your view when trades and waiver picks don't happen, but at the same time, I think Big Sex would have had a very solid role on this team, he fits in well, and he saw that and tried to make the best of it.

And then Tambi bitchslapped him like a $4 hooker who doesn't have change.

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#84 Chris.
September 13 2010, 10:48PM
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My bad faith argument is simple: are the Oilers attempting to circumvent a guaranteed contract by unduly pressuring the other party to void it?

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#85 Cervantes
September 13 2010, 10:50PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

so if tamby tells sheldon not to report for "actions detrimental to the team" will he do the same to khabby. They both did something that puts a black eye on the club just in different aspects. I hope he does otherwise ST will look like the biggest douche

It's too late for that...

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#86 Duane
September 13 2010, 10:51PM
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@ striatic

It was lie no matter how you slice it...the words "he can come to camp" came out of his mouth.I heard it just like thousands of others heard it.If he really meant he wasn't sure....Why not say "we aren't sure" It's no wonder free agents don't want to come here......it never ends!!!

Duane

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#87 Gilmore Tuttle
September 13 2010, 10:51PM
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Cervantes wrote:

Guaranteed contract just means money. It doesn't mean playing time, or even what league. And it's binding to both parties. Souray can't walk, neither can the Oilers.

He can whine and complain and hold a presser every day to say how much he misses the game. The Oilers have his rights, they can sit him for as long as they want, as long as they pay him.

Yes, but how many people will the Oilers be paying to stay home? At this point it is Souray and Quinn. What about Khabibulin in the next month or so? How many millions of dollars is that when combined with the payouts of Nilsson and others and the overpayment of Horcoff, etc?

Why is this part of the Rexall empire so poorly run? It doesn't help RS&E when they go to City Council and claim they lose money under their current situation. If I were a Councilor, I would ask what how much of that loss was due to incompetence of the front office and how much was due to the old arena.

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#88 Zamboni Driver
September 13 2010, 10:52PM
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@Lowetide

Fortunately he's owed nine frickin' million bucks or whatever.

He can AFFORD to pay any damned prince, LT.

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#89 Chris.
September 13 2010, 10:53PM
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Duane wrote:

@ striatic

It was lie no matter how you slice it...the words "he can come to camp" came out of his mouth.I heard it just like thousands of others heard it.If he really meant he wasn't sure....Why not say "we aren't sure" It's no wonder free agents don't want to come here......it never ends!!!

Duane

I also heard Tambellini *edit* Lowe say on Stauffers show that Sheldon would be welcome at camp.

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#90 DBO
September 13 2010, 10:53PM
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Souray is saying all the right things now because no one wants him. Let's hope Sather gets sucked in and deals for him. i guess the question becomes are we a better team with Souray and Cogs or Redden and Dubinsky? I floated that idea a year ago, and now that Eklund has also mentioned it I know it will never happen, but I guess are we better with a worse Dman, with a worse contract but a better centre with size?

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#91 jeanshorts
September 13 2010, 10:54PM
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@Zamboni Driver

Come on guy, this is hockey. EVERYBODY gets a nickname. I'm pretty sure no one has ever named their kid "Sparky" but I could be wrong.

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#92 Cervantes
September 13 2010, 10:58PM
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Chris. wrote:

My bad faith argument is simple: are the Oilers attempting to circumvent a guaranteed contract by unduly pressuring the other party to void it?

The answer is simple too: No. As long as they're paying him, they're fulfilling the contract. There's no circumvention. Sheldon is an Oiler, he's getting paid what the contract says, and the club is simply choosing to not play him. Guaranteed contracts are just guaranteed money, not guaranteed playing time.

Unduly pressuring him would be more like "hold a presser and tell everyone you use lady scented body wash, or your next paycheque might mysteriously disappear".

If Sheldon feels a pressing need to play hockey, then he can go to the KHL. Because otherwise, the Oilers can't void his contract, and he can't void his contract, so they're stuck with each other.

(exception: doing "The Sykora")

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#93 Dan the Man
September 13 2010, 10:59PM
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Chris. wrote:

My bad faith argument is simple: are the Oilers attempting to circumvent a guaranteed contract by unduly pressuring the other party to void it?

Didn't Souray start this mess by whining publicly to the media?

If you owned a business and one of your highly paid employees ripped you publicly would you not do anything you could to get rid of him?

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#94 a lg dubl dubl
September 13 2010, 11:07PM
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Cervantes wrote:

It's too late for that...

I dont think so if Steve has rocks to do that to Souray 4 days before camp starts im pretty sure he can tell Khabby to sit at home til his appeal is done with. But Im no lawyer. IMO if Tamby doesnt then doesnt that say to the players "go get pissed, get a DUI we'll bring you back with open arms!! Just dont talk smack about me"

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#95 jeanshorts
September 13 2010, 11:07PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Didn't Souray start this mess by whining publicly to the media?

If you owned a business and one of your highly paid employees ripped you publicly would you not do anything you could to get rid of him?

You're fighting an uphill battle here sir.

THIS IS NO TIME FOR COMMON SENSE!

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#96 Sean F
September 13 2010, 11:11PM
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I think Sheldon showed up today on the advise of his agent to play the good, positive guy BS. Knowing that he probably wouldn't be invited to camp, he could show up and act like he wants to be there even if it's the last place he wants to be. Certainly wasn't a good idea on behalf of the Oilers to give him a warning and let them play games with the decision.

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#97 jarihung
September 13 2010, 11:12PM
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Does anybody else here feel that sheldon seemed really nervous during the interview with tsn? he seemed half-hearted the whole time. He must realize now that not getting picked up off waivers means something.

Anyway there must be some sort of trade lined up here. Cogliano just got signed for an incredible bargain price. So maybe some teams are interested in getting rid of their own garbage for Cogs and our garbage. Tambellini sure is making himself look bush league here and he is no-doubt making people think that there is some truth behind big sexy's allegations about shawdy management.

After yesterdays rookie game and the next 2 games i think there will be a lot of players re-considering edmonton as a promising team for stanley cup contention. Souray was obviously portraying that earlier in the tsn interview.

I just hope the oilers don't end the year with "oil change 2 : Larson or coutourier?"

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#98 bk
September 13 2010, 11:21PM
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Twitter from DarrenDreger: Souray told TSN he received an email today officially stating he would not be invited to camp and should standby..."

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#99 Chris.
September 13 2010, 11:22PM
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@ Dan the Man, and JeanShorts:

I'm not on Sourays side. I've written that many times. I'm just worried that the Oilers may be bungling the legal side of things again. Not a single Contract Lawyer, or CBA expert, or League offical has yet to comment on the legality of this. If Souray can successfully argue that the Oilers are acting in bad faith, and as a result damaged his reputation, and future earning potential... he may have a civil case. I'm not saying he should win... I'm saying I'm afraid Oiler ineptitude may grant him a win.

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#100 David S
September 13 2010, 11:23PM
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So I guess Souray was joining some of the other guys on the team for an informal skate, which he'll continue to do for the next few days. Real camp starts later in the week. So technically he wasn't at camp today. (per TSN)

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