REINSTATING SHELDON SOURAY

Robin Brownlee
June 20 2011 05:34PM

Steve Tambellini stood his ground with Sheldon Souray. He made his point. Now, before the Edmonton Oilers GM buys out Souray, he should put a call into him. If Tambellini hears the right things from Souray in that conversation, he should consider inviting him to training camp.

As anybody who has followed the ongoing Souray saga at Oilersnation since rumblings the big defenceman wanted out of Edmonton surfaced, that statement marks a considerable shift in position. Some might say a flip-flop, although I don't see it that way

I didn't want Souray anywhere near a room full of young prospects like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi at camp last September after he went public with his discontent at the end of the 2009-10 season. I applauded when Tambellini told him not to bother showing up at training camp and later loaned him to the AHL.

Had Tambellini wavered then after being publicly shown up by Souray, it's my belief he'd have been gutted as GM. Paying Souray his full NHL salary to play in the minors, even on loan to another organization with the Hershey Bears, was better than having him in the room, even if it did little to make the most of the player as an asset.

Having made his point, the responsible thing for Tambellini to do in terms of what's best for the team paying his salary, is to consider bringing Souray back to the fold -- with conditions, of course.

WANTS AND NEEDS

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Tambellini most certainly needs NHL defensemen and I think Souray still qualifies as one of those, even if he's obviously overpaid, getting long in the tooth and is breaking down.

Rather than pay Souray to go away via buy-out during the window to do so in the next couple of weeks, Tambellini should see if there's a chance to mend fences. That's not my idea, by the way. I got to thinking about it after a thought-evoking e-mail to TEAM 1260 by a fan this morning. The more I thought, the more it made sense. With caveats.

If playing in the minors for an entire season without having a single NHL team show any real interest in him -- the New York Rangers took a look but quickly said, "No thanks" -- hasn't humbled Souray and convinced him to simply shut up and play, then nothing will.

While I don't expect Souray to make a public apology for his criticism of the organization on getaway day at the end of the 2009-10 season, I would expect him to do it privately with Tambellini. I'd also expect him to pledge to provide veteran leadership to roster laden with youth. No bitching, no moaning. None of what got Souray gone in the first place.

If Souray does that, what legitimate reason, pride notwithstanding, would Tambellini have not to listen?

WORTH A TRY

Souray most certainly wants another NHL contract and this season is his best -- and last -- chance to earn one. Tambellini, as everybody knows, does not have a surplus of NHL defensemen.

If Souray toes the company line and stays healthy, maybe he gets that new deal he wants. If he does, Tambellini gets the benefit of Souray's skills, diminishing or not, and maybe gets something for Souray at the trade deadline. Not much, but something.

Souray has been force-fed a heaping helping of humble pie. If he's digested it and is willing to come back ready to play instead of to piss and moan about just about everything, as he used to, then it seems to me like it's worth a shot.

Tambellini won't know if that's a possibility until he at least picks up the telephone and sees if there's some mutually satisfactory business to be done. As GM of this team, that's a call he has to make.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 JL
June 20 2011, 05:38PM
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Too bad he'll get injured by the FIST FIST he takes to the dome.

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#2 OilCrazy
June 20 2011, 05:39PM
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My first ever fist!

Doh! Too slow!

Fist epic fail too....

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#3 Bucknuck
June 20 2011, 05:41PM
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IF Souray is humbled then fine. But I don't want any "me-first" guys in that dressing room.

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#4 Sir Smoka Lottt
June 20 2011, 05:43PM
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Be good to have the Savage back and protecting our young guns...

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#5 Cool Beans
June 20 2011, 05:44PM
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Has anyone like you or Gregor tried to contact the Souray camp and get his thoughts?

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#6 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
June 20 2011, 05:46PM
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Sheldon back is dumb

Nobody put in waiver claim

Good Riddance Souray

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#7 Quicksilver ballet
June 20 2011, 05:47PM
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Agree 100%. The Oilers need to put this charade behind them. Under no circumstances should a team abandon and publically embarass a player like this. It sends a poor message to any and all the players working in other NHL cities.

If this type of situation were to happen now, i'm sure Tambellini would excersise a little more maturity an handle a situation like this very differently today. Righting this wrong is a step in the right direction.

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#8 Matt Henderson
June 20 2011, 05:48PM
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Im n a positive mood and I always thought it was a waste leaving him in Hershey. Bring him back. No one can tell me the Oilers are better with Chorney than Souray anyway.

The Mullet, Big Sexy, AND RNH!! This week is shaping up quite nicely.

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#9 russ99
June 20 2011, 05:48PM
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Nobody wants Souray, why should we?

C'mon Steve/Kevin/Daryl, bite the bullet, admit your mistake and buy him out.

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#10 Naked Mike
June 20 2011, 05:50PM
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If there's a giant douche named Sheldon in the Oiler's locker room next year, I hope they at least counter balance it with a guy like Ryan Smyth as well.

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#11 D'oh-ilers
June 20 2011, 05:56PM
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I'm not opposed to Souray at least playing out part of the final year of his deal in Edmonton. If fans can forgive Comrie, I'm sure they can do the same with Souray, assuming he says the right things off the ice and does the right things on it.

If Souray is healthy and his head is in the right place, it's worth a shot.

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#12 jimmycrackcorn
June 20 2011, 05:59PM
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Bring him back. Talk all you want behind closed doors but everyone is better off with Souray in an Oilers Jersey. Even Souray would admit that. Give him an opportunity to prove himself and only good things can happen.....or he breaks his hand on Iggy and is out for the season. Even then atleast Tambo looks a little better in the eyes of every other NHL player.

Do it!

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#13 Coco crisp
June 20 2011, 06:09PM
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I hope they bring big sex. Maybe teach kurtis foster how to shoot.

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#14 TheSmalough
June 20 2011, 06:13PM
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Though I agree it's time to let this whole thing go, bringing him back is still a bad idea. Not just about the whole locker room thing but when he was playing in Hershey he should have been dominating but he wasn't. Time to buy him out and be done with it.

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#15 Spydyr
June 20 2011, 06:13PM
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What does it hurt in inviting him to camp.If he is a douche send him on his way.......early. You miss the buy out but I never liked that option anyhow.

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#16 knobby
June 20 2011, 06:16PM
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Excellent post RB. What you have written makes all kinds of sense. I'm afraid that Tambo got his feelings hurt and he is acting like a scorned lover and not a professional general manager.

Tambo tried to spin the Souray-gate situation to suggest to us all he was acting in the best interests of the team and that was his sole motive. B-S! He lacks the kind of thick skin a person needs to set aside a public criticism by an employee. I think his reaction was every bit as unprofessional as Sheldon's ill-conceived diatribe.

He and Lowe have continually put their personal stubborn pride first and acted like bully-boys for the whole world to see. There are reasons players won't sign with the Oil and in my view they are the two biggest reasons players and agents wouldn't touch Edmonton with a 10-foot-pole.

I would like to know what the team thinks of Tambo when they see how he treats players who are higher maintenence then most.

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#17 HockeyNut98
June 20 2011, 06:16PM
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If he holds up his end of the bargain, I think that might be fine. Fortunately he can be on the next plane down to the minors with really no cost. If we were planning to buy him out, a waiver claim would almost be a relief.

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#18 Ender
June 20 2011, 06:17PM
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Robin! Really? Bring him back? What part of the whole idea excites you more - the new $5.4M cap hit we'll be taking on, or the fact that we'll be able to play the guy who was the fourth-best defenceman (maybe the fifth?) for the Hershey Bears last season?

We have prospects in OKC that outplayed Souray last year. They would play for a fraction of the price and have every bit as much motivation to perform as Souray does if not more. They come without any baggage. Why is Souray an upgrade on ANY of them? You yourself just reminded us of the fact that not a single other team in the NHL would play him on their team, even costing only $2.25M a season. They're all wrong? He's suddenly due for a resurgence that none of them see?

Souray is D-O-N-E. That's a fact, and he put an exclamation point on it last season. Just for fun, though, let's pretend he wasn't. Let's imagine, for a moment, that Tambi and Shelly decided to pretend to kiss and make up. And let's further suppose that halfway through the season, Shelly mouths off again. Not publically, of course, because even a guy like Shelly can learn after being stung hard enough. But to the guys in the room. "This sucks . . . that isn't right . . . you guys shouldn't be treated this way . . . why do you just take this crap . . ." In the first place, how long is it going to take before Oilers management even becomes aware of what he's saying and who he's saying it to? And in the second place, what are they going to do when they find out? Have another big public falling out? 'Cuz it's twice as nice when you do it again, right? Here's a fun trivia question: who stands to lose more in the second split - Shelly or the Oilers?

Sometimes, after people get divorced, they end up thrust into a situation where they're stuck back in the same room for a night, and they're lonely, and they start thinking that maybe everything that happened before can just be erased if they wish hard enough.

Show of hands, ON: How many of you are divorced? Some of you? OK . . . follow-up question: How many of you have remarried your ex? Not as many?

This is a bad idea on many levels. We have one more year to keep whats-his-face buried in the minors before no one ever has to talk about him again. He's not helping us from down there, but he's certainly not hurting us either. I, for one, would like to keep it that way.

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#19 @NateInVegas
June 20 2011, 06:23PM
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What's the thought process here?

Adding Smyth & Souray so the Oilers win a few more games next year?

Are the Oilers going to... try?

If Souray puts on an Oilers jersey again, it's time for a new GM.

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#20 6 ring circus
June 20 2011, 06:34PM
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Forget it, let Souray play out his career in the minors.I think the Oilers would be making a huge mistake.Bring back Ryan Smyth send Souray down the Hershey highway again.

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#21 Puritania
June 20 2011, 06:36PM
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Ender wrote:

Robin! Really? Bring him back? What part of the whole idea excites you more - the new $5.4M cap hit we'll be taking on, or the fact that we'll be able to play the guy who was the fourth-best defenceman (maybe the fifth?) for the Hershey Bears last season?

We have prospects in OKC that outplayed Souray last year. They would play for a fraction of the price and have every bit as much motivation to perform as Souray does if not more. They come without any baggage. Why is Souray an upgrade on ANY of them? You yourself just reminded us of the fact that not a single other team in the NHL would play him on their team, even costing only $2.25M a season. They're all wrong? He's suddenly due for a resurgence that none of them see?

Souray is D-O-N-E. That's a fact, and he put an exclamation point on it last season. Just for fun, though, let's pretend he wasn't. Let's imagine, for a moment, that Tambi and Shelly decided to pretend to kiss and make up. And let's further suppose that halfway through the season, Shelly mouths off again. Not publically, of course, because even a guy like Shelly can learn after being stung hard enough. But to the guys in the room. "This sucks . . . that isn't right . . . you guys shouldn't be treated this way . . . why do you just take this crap . . ." In the first place, how long is it going to take before Oilers management even becomes aware of what he's saying and who he's saying it to? And in the second place, what are they going to do when they find out? Have another big public falling out? 'Cuz it's twice as nice when you do it again, right? Here's a fun trivia question: who stands to lose more in the second split - Shelly or the Oilers?

Sometimes, after people get divorced, they end up thrust into a situation where they're stuck back in the same room for a night, and they're lonely, and they start thinking that maybe everything that happened before can just be erased if they wish hard enough.

Show of hands, ON: How many of you are divorced? Some of you? OK . . . follow-up question: How many of you have remarried your ex? Not as many?

This is a bad idea on many levels. We have one more year to keep whats-his-face buried in the minors before no one ever has to talk about him again. He's not helping us from down there, but he's certainly not hurting us either. I, for one, would like to keep it that way.

Really well said Commander, props.

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#22 michael
June 20 2011, 06:36PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Im n a positive mood and I always thought it was a waste leaving him in Hershey. Bring him back. No one can tell me the Oilers are better with Chorney than Souray anyway.

The Mullet, Big Sexy, AND RNH!! This week is shaping up quite nicely.

I would take Souray back and Smitty. I would not be against those moves. RNH. Hall and Eberle and RNH will be lighting up the lamps so often at Rexall that they'll be changing the bulbs monthly.Instead of yearly.

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#23 striatic
June 20 2011, 06:46PM
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i'd love it if everyone involved could just kiss and make up, but just as Ender puts it, Souray is simply not capable of playing at an NHL level.

this isn't about personality or pride or being bad in the room anymore, it is about being bad *on the ice*.

though i suppose you could bring him back if you were really determined to tank next year and get another top 5 pick.

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#24 DSF
June 20 2011, 06:48PM
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Perhaps it should be remembered that Souray has little motivation to kiss Tambellini's ass.

While being assigned to the AHL he does not pay into escrow so, in fact, is making out like a bandit.

I'm also pretty sure he knows his NHL career is over having passed through re-entry waivers.

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#25 Gret99zky
June 20 2011, 06:50PM
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Last I checked Souray is an AHL dman, not an NHL dman. 29 other teams passed on that.

How has he played in the minors? Why aren't the Hershey coaches/players pumping his tires in the media?

Has he stayed healthy in the minors?

What is the likelyhood of him staying healthy on the Oilers given his track record and the teams'?

Bringing him back would just be another injury and another year of teaching the kids how to complain about travel, hotels, restaurants, coaches, girlfriends, money, etc. Oh and a whole lotta fart catching from the main stream guys.

No thanks.

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#26 Rick
June 20 2011, 06:57PM
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When I heard Bob talking about the thought provoking email today from Epstein's Mother my first thought was "why after a year is it suddenly an interesting notion today, three days after the buy out period started?" then my second thought was " katz's kid looks kinda like Epstein, what an inconspicuous way for an oilers media person to float a trial balloon in order to prepare the masses"

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#27 dougtheslug
June 20 2011, 07:01PM
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The truth is, Jim Matheson of the Journal had it right last September when he wrote the Oil should have kept quiet, let Souray come back, and traded him for a bag of pucks in November, when some other team was panicking about their start to the season. Then and only then was the time to get someting, anything, for Sheldon. It's too late now. A bag of pucks is too much to hope for. Buy him out and let him get on with his modelling career.

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#28 @Oilanderp
June 20 2011, 07:18PM
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You are right Robin, it is a call that ST needs to make. It is due-diligence to do everything possible to improve the team. An invite to training camp isn't like remarrying your ex-wife. An invite isn't a guarantee to anything.

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#29 itsnotu_itsme
June 20 2011, 07:26PM
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AHL defenseman??? does anyone really believe he gave it his all last year down in hersey? what Hersey did say, was that he was very professional. Early on Sheldons ego got in the way (thinking every team would want him). By the time it sunk in that no-one wanted him, he got hurt. I do think his injuries are s huge concern! But...we need another defenseman. another shot on the PP some more toughness (doesnt even need to fight)...just be nasty and hand out crosschecks like they are going out of style. keep his trap shut, and hope some team takes a flyer on him(waivers) if he does suck as bad as everyone thinks.

Besides I think RB suggest we invite him to camp nothing more.

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#30 Chris.
June 20 2011, 07:28PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Im n a positive mood and I always thought it was a waste leaving him in Hershey. Bring him back. No one can tell me the Oilers are better with Chorney than Souray anyway.

The Mullet, Big Sexy, AND RNH!! This week is shaping up quite nicely.

Nice. Props to you sir.

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
June 20 2011, 07:31PM
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I must've voted for Pedro in that last election...

All of my wildest dreams are coming true. (atleast a step closer to reality for Ryan and Sheldon)

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#32 Chris.
June 20 2011, 07:32PM
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@Ender

Hello Axe, my name is Grindstone.

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#33 dmac
June 20 2011, 07:35PM
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if tambo were to pull this off he better have his ducks in a row because this could end badly

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#34 raceguy
June 20 2011, 07:54PM
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What is this,lets bring back old aging Oilers week?11-12 million in cap space for those two?Might as well get on the horn and see if we can convince Staios and Moreau to come back for one more year.

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#35 ricky p
June 20 2011, 07:55PM
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I like his toughness and size we all complain we need. He might be on the downside of the career, but would be as good as the 5/6 dmen we dress now. I would love to see Sheldon riding shotgun for the young guns. Nasty man.

But, this is Tambo, so I imagine nothing is possible other than twisting the knife one more time as we show Souray the door with a pocket full of cash.

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#37 raceguy
June 20 2011, 08:04PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Except that the Oilers aren't paying Moreau and Staios a salary for another year. Thanks for the thoughtful contribution. Donkey stool.

Donkey stool?Nice comeback,what are you 12?

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#38 Matt Henderson
June 20 2011, 08:07PM
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raceguy wrote:

Donkey stool?Nice comeback,what are you 12?

What are you? Banned?

Oh...

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#39 Biowolf
June 20 2011, 08:09PM
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The only one who made his point is Souray by calling the Oiler management what they are (choose your expletive)

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#40 Jimmer
June 20 2011, 08:10PM
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raceguy wrote:

Donkey stool?Nice comeback,what are you 12?

@raceguy

I have a 12 year old that knows that the Oilers aren't paying Moreau and Staios for another year.

Just saying.

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#41 raceguy
June 20 2011, 08:12PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

What are you? Banned?

Oh...

All I did was voice my opinion and was insulted by the writer.Then all I did was question his level of maturity.

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#42 raceguy
June 20 2011, 08:13PM
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Jimmer wrote:

@raceguy

I have a 12 year old that knows that the Oilers aren't paying Moreau and Staios for another year.

Just saying.

Reread my original comment,I know that too.

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#43 Matt Henderson
June 20 2011, 08:16PM
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@raceguy

I was playing the odds my joke would hold up. I tried.

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#44 Mitch
June 20 2011, 08:16PM
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@Brownlee I don't see any issue with bringing Sheldon back, yes his body is breaking down and his game is declining. Sheldon also knows that he's not a wanted player, so yes he can shut his mouth and take a back seat which is where he needs to be considering given the make up of this dressing room. Just go play the game pound pucks at 100mph if his body is healed. Major lessons have been learned from both parties, most importantly life is a 2 way street at all times.

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#45 raceguy
June 20 2011, 08:21PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

I was playing the odds my joke would hold up. I tried.

sorry,missed it.

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#46 jeanshorts
June 20 2011, 08:50PM
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The Edmonton Oilers: Bring us your tired, your poor, your broken down, barely useful defensemen.

Seriously though, while I agree with the premise that it's probably about time to forgive and move on, let's not forget that this is a guy who was passed on by 30 out of 30 NHL teams, 29 of which would have only had to pay, what, 2.something mill per year for the remainder of his contract? And this is the same guy who no more than two years prior had the best offensive season of his career. That's a pretty decent sized red flag if you ask me. Sure he's a step up from Strudwick, Foster, Chorney (last season anyway) and, well, as far as I'm concerned that's about it.

It was a good idea at the time, but it ended up blowing up in everyone's faces. Let's not reactivate Chernobyl please.

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#47 The Farmer
June 20 2011, 08:56PM
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I like all the suggestions on bringing souray back, but I think it's very important that he admits publicly that he's sorry and was wrong. Not so much for him, but the young guys in the room. They need to see that no one is bigger than the team, and nobody is too important that they cant be replaced. ( even if that's not always true )

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#48 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
June 20 2011, 08:57PM
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I was more then Happy to see the Oil send Souray to the A, however I think he's "served his time".

Call him up, ask him if he's willing to set his differences aside for the year.... and as a bonus, if he plays well we just might be able to get something for him at the deadline.

Solidify the leadership group (Smyth would work well) if Souray has even one miss-step it's back to the A.

Low risk IMO.

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#50 Horcsky
June 20 2011, 09:03PM
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Bah. Pass! It would be worth it to see a D prospect up here instead of Souray. Develop a useful future piece instead of redeploying the broken down war horse.

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