SHELDON SOURAY: BYGONES

Robin Brownlee
March 01 2012 08:50PM

Fans will boo Sheldon Souray when he steps on to the ice with the Dallas Stars Friday in his first appearance back at Rexall Place since his messy split with the Edmonton Oilers.

It's a tradition at the old rink, after all. Wayne Gretzky got it. So did Paul Coffey and Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr and other players who had a far more significant place in franchise history and in the hearts of fans than did Souray, who spent three mostly miserable seasons in Edmonton.

The difference, of course, is all those players, and many others, left town after winning Stanley Cups here during the dynasty days and parades on Jasper Ave. in the 1980s because owner Peter Pocklington couldn't afford to keep them with his financial house of slowly cards crumbling.

Souray, on the other hand, was paid to blow town. First, he was banished to the AHL with Hershey on loan. Then, he was bought out of the final year of the bloated contract he signed as a free agent with the Oilers in the summer of 2007 after enjoying a career season with the Montreal Canadiens.

All that came after Souray publicly questioned how quickly he'd been brought back from shoulder surgery by the Oilers to start the first year of his contract here. It came after Souray asked for a trade privately and later went public with the request. It came after GM Steve Tambellini told Souray he wasn't welcome at training camp and then stuck him in Hershey. After all of that, the buy-out. Get lost. Beat it. Big deposit. No return.

BLACK AND WHITE

It seemed black-and-white to me – to a lot of those of us on the outside of the situation -- back then. Handsomely paid by the Oilers without delivering the kind of performance expected – one very good season and two disrupted by injuries – Souray went public with his discontent.

Souray had shown up the organization. He knew what the outcome would be. In essence, he'd turned his back on a city far more publicly than Chris Pronger had by asking out behind closed doors. Souray couldn't possibly be asked back to poison the dressing room. Tambellini had to stand his ground.

Did it make sense to have Souray play out his contract sitting beside Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle or Sam Gagner talking about what a bungling, inept outfit the Oilers, an organization paying him millions of dollars, was? I didn't think so, and I wrote that more than once at the time. I still feel that way, at least in principle. Which is something less than wholeheartedly.

At the time, I had a lot more faith in Tambellini's ability to assess and keep his finger on the pulse of a team than I do now and to read the dressing room and the different personalities within it. Likewise, it follows, I'm not so sure about Tambellini's ability to assemble the right mix of players in that dressing room. A couple of years down the road since the Souray mess hit the fan and the fans, it's not so black and white.

HERE AND NOW

Souray, 35, who inked a one-year contract worth $1.65 million with the Stars last summer, has, by every account I've heard and read, been a total pro in Big D and a good teammate in Texas. Souray's popularity with teammates here was never a question. He was well-liked in the dressing room, if not in the front office.

With the Oilers having made a couple of stops in Dallas this season, Souray has resisted the urge to take potshots at the Oilers or at Tambellini, despite being offered plenty of opportunity by media types looking for another story and another headline. He has moved on.

Oiler fans, whether they sided with Souray or team management back then, will have to do likewise. And they will, as they always do. After, of course, they jeer and boo the first time his name is announced and when he handles the puck – especially if he happens to put it into Edmonton's net.

What if Souray unloads one of those Studley Wonderbomb slappers of his from the point and finds twine? Might Souray get a mixed reaction from the house at Rexall Place? A smattering of cheers from those unhappy with how Tambellini handled the whole mess to go with the obligatory jeers reserved for returning Oilers great, not-so-great and in-between? Might some of that derision be directed upstairs at Tambellini's perch?

That might be appropriate. It's not so black and white to me now.

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 Quicksilver ballet
March 01 2012, 08:52PM
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We're sorry Sheldon....you were right all along.

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#2 PaperDesigner
March 02 2012, 12:11AM
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I think with the Blue Jackets and Oilers both looking to be 30th and 29th respectively, with Lowe protege Howson running the ship in Columbus, I believe it is time to ask if there is something extremely flawed in the organizational philosophy that actively puts them at a disadvantage compared to other management groups.

When I look at Howson signing a winger who has fewer points per game than Hemsky to a 7.8 million dollar cap hit, I wonder.

When Lowe signs Horcoff to a 5.5 cap hit a year in advance of UFA after a season that was much better than his average performance, I wonder.

When Howson trades for a player in Jack Johnson who has been described by observers and statistical analysis alike as a very poor defender, I wonder.

When Tambellini trades a player to get essentially the same player with less offense, just because the organization wants to have an equal number of "offense" and "defense" players, I wonder.

My read is that they believe all the hockey myths. That "being tough to play against" is important (Detroit is tough to play against--reason: they're good). That rebuilds are made entirely out of young players. That you can have too many puck-moving defencemen. Or that high draft picks just need some coaching to blossom. They seem to be trying to win by constructing a narrative that fits into a newspaper story, rather than looking more deeply at facts.

They have some excellent players. But I don't trust a GM like Tambellini to make the right decision with a player like Omark. When I look at Omark, I see a hockey player. I see a player that has found a unique way to be effective at hockey at a high level. I think Steve Tambellini is prone to making some arbitrary determination that Omark cannot be good, because this team needs Lucic, and Omark is bad because he isn't Lucic. I hope I am wrong, but I think this organization's unwillingness to appreciate good players for being good regardless of HOW they do it is reflected in the Gilbert trade. And that makes me nervous--how many downgrades like that will it take them to miss their cup window?

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#3 Time Travelling Sean
March 02 2012, 12:56AM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

I think with the Blue Jackets and Oilers both looking to be 30th and 29th respectively, with Lowe protege Howson running the ship in Columbus, I believe it is time to ask if there is something extremely flawed in the organizational philosophy that actively puts them at a disadvantage compared to other management groups.

When I look at Howson signing a winger who has fewer points per game than Hemsky to a 7.8 million dollar cap hit, I wonder.

When Lowe signs Horcoff to a 5.5 cap hit a year in advance of UFA after a season that was much better than his average performance, I wonder.

When Howson trades for a player in Jack Johnson who has been described by observers and statistical analysis alike as a very poor defender, I wonder.

When Tambellini trades a player to get essentially the same player with less offense, just because the organization wants to have an equal number of "offense" and "defense" players, I wonder.

My read is that they believe all the hockey myths. That "being tough to play against" is important (Detroit is tough to play against--reason: they're good). That rebuilds are made entirely out of young players. That you can have too many puck-moving defencemen. Or that high draft picks just need some coaching to blossom. They seem to be trying to win by constructing a narrative that fits into a newspaper story, rather than looking more deeply at facts.

They have some excellent players. But I don't trust a GM like Tambellini to make the right decision with a player like Omark. When I look at Omark, I see a hockey player. I see a player that has found a unique way to be effective at hockey at a high level. I think Steve Tambellini is prone to making some arbitrary determination that Omark cannot be good, because this team needs Lucic, and Omark is bad because he isn't Lucic. I hope I am wrong, but I think this organization's unwillingness to appreciate good players for being good regardless of HOW they do it is reflected in the Gilbert trade. And that makes me nervous--how many downgrades like that will it take them to miss their cup window?

Ok 4 things.

Nash scores 30-40 goals, 60-70 points, Hemmer gets 15-20 goals, 60-70 points. Is Nash overpaid? Yes. Is he a franchise changing player? Yes. Is Hemmer? No. Did Columbus need to overpay him to stay? Probably.

Jack Johnson and a first, from maybe a 10th place team, for a player who didn't want to be there?

Would I trade Voracek and Couturier for Johnson and a 12th-17th pick? Maybe, but probably not.

Gilbert and Schultz are two different players. Schultz is better defensively, more focused and committed to defence, rather than Gilbert being a hybrid.

They filled a need, Gilbert was appreciated, as seen in getting a fan favourite in Schultz from Minny.

Also who's to say Gilbert didn't request a trade? He didn't seem surprised or worried about being traded.

Is the trade progress? I think Schultz is an upgrade defensively, advanced stats or not.I think it was a good trade, but time will tell.

Omark is slow, has 5 goals in 56 games, and is 25? 26? He has put up points wherever he went, just not at the NHL level, and is more likely than not to be following Rob Schremp's road.

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#4 Oilcruzer
March 01 2012, 11:17PM
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A case study in the exponential affect of applying bullheaded egos to a poor choice of words used in the heat of a frustrating time.

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#5 Jerconjake
March 01 2012, 11:24PM
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No matter how well founded Souray's comments may have been, he should never have made them public. One wonders what he hoped to accomplish by doing it, because he had to know how it would look. I'm not saying that he planned to leave the Oilers with no option but to buy him out, but if he did plan it he's a diabolical genius!

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#6 Reality Check to the head
March 02 2012, 09:09AM
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I have always liked Sheldon Souray. But this story needs to die. Sure people will boo, because as Brownlee states "Wayne Gretzky got it." It is a fans right to boo or cheer.

The Souray situation was stupid on all sides. I give Tambo credit, at the very least he took a stance and didn't budge. When Souray got bought out I was just glad the ordeal was over.

Here is hoping Souray success against the 28 other NHL franchises especially Vancouver and Calgary.

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#7 Saytalk
March 01 2012, 08:55PM
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Forever in Souray's trail. Now with all of the problems we have on defence, it would be nice to have his big shot and physical play, even if he does make more than his share of mistakes in his own end.

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#8 Matt Henderson
March 02 2012, 08:24AM
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I still think that Souray was right. Right to be mad IF he was pressured to come back early, right about the Mickey Mouse communication skills of the management group, right about the ineptitude of the folks in charge in E-Town.

He made it abundantly clear it wasnt a problem with the city of the fans. I'm sure the record would show that the things Souray was fed up with were repeated Ad Nauseum by many BEFORE Souray went public with his request. I certainly had no faith in Tambellini's abilities and I'm a fan of the team.

The club paid him, and still pays him (in part) to play against us because when faced with the opportunity to start over with Souray the club stood its ground. Everybody could have worked together to save face, but nobody was willing to flinch.

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#9 Matt Henderson
March 02 2012, 08:31AM
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Clarkenstein wrote:

Souray simply stated what everybody knew about LoweBellini!! Klowe's record speaks for itself. The reputation continues with the Hemsky price tag... a couple good toe drags per game and voila... $10 Mil. What a country!!

This is an NHL where Ville Leino and James Van Riemsdyk can make 4+ Million Dollars a year.

Think about that as the standard for the Marketplace.

5 Mill a season for Ales Hemsky isnt even CLOSE to outlandish.

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#10 Oilcruzer
March 02 2012, 09:14AM
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Point is, there are no clean hands here on either side.

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#11 PaperDesigner
March 02 2012, 12:44PM
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@The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

Horcoff had not had a long history of high level play. It seemed like an overpay of about a million at the time. The salary cap was about $56 million at the time... Who was making the argument that Horcoff was worth 10% of the cap?

Omark is what I would call a reasonable bet to be a player. Yet this organization has given a player like JF Jacques, who had several years of mediocre play at the AHL level (though we may never know the impact of injuries on the player, as Lowetide is fond of pointing out) plenty of opportunity, mostly undeserved, because they wanted the Jacques player type to be successful, it seems to me, rather than opportunity due to merit. Omark has already proved himself at every professional level, and acquired himself well at the NHl level in the one and only extended audition he received in it.

Omark is a good player. I would much rather have a player who is good enough to play on a second or third line on my fourth than a player who cannot play higher up--the mystery of why this organization continually has put Petrell, Hordichuk, Lander and Eager in the line-up when they have had a better player on the farm (though to be fair... He was injured much of the year) is perplexing, to say the least.

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#12 Time Travelling Sean
March 01 2012, 09:08PM
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He had 1 good year here? He may have be relegated to Hershey, but he certainly didn't make Tamby's job hard with the way he played there.

I liked him sure, but he didn't play to his potential, or standard and then publicly trashed management, which he may have had a good reason but still, guilt on both sides and it's best to move on.

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#13 6 ring circus
March 01 2012, 09:41PM
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~~What did Mr Dithers get for Souray?~~ Souray did the right thing by speaking up,Tambellini can't handle the truth!!!

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#14 samwise17
March 01 2012, 10:00PM
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Great article, I tend to agree, his issues with those upstairs will not be the whole reason he will be booed. But his lack of reaching his potential at the time. If he plays well at rexall, then i bet some of the booos will be directed at admin, blaming them for what we lost, either way, whats done is done, all we can do now is move on and win against Dallas friday.

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#15 spOILer
March 01 2012, 11:11PM
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At the time, I had a lot more faith in Tambellini's ability to assess and keep his finger on the pulse of a team than I do now and to read the dressing room and the different personalities within it. Likewise, it follows, I'm not so sure about Tambellini's ability to assemble the right mix of players in that dressing room. A couple of years down the road since the Souray mess hit the fan and the fans, it's not so black and white.

That's a pretty interesting statement, Sir. Culture change and character seems to be a theme with Tambellini. But it sounds like you're seeing some contradictory evidence?

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#16 pelhem grenville
March 02 2012, 04:04AM
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...I'm not a boo-bird but this scab i have that healed over long ago needs no picking...least of all ripping off by this timely piece Robin...what's done is done ... Souray did make his bed and if there are jeers and boos from the hometown faithful so be it...will this be the time when we can really move away from any further addressing yet another black mark on this franchises' history? along with the Comries and Coffeys and Fuhrs of the world...44's never gonna be a number that hangs in the rafters anyway ...besides

the kids might overhear us...

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#17 AussieOil
March 02 2012, 05:05AM
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Paper designer- just wanted to say great post. Some regular posters here almost always feel they need to dissect and respond, just want to say good thought provoking post for once- cheers

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#18 sizedoesmatter
March 02 2012, 05:47AM
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This is one game I am glad I will be watching from home.I never though Souray was lying.And sometimes the truth does p**s people off.But it is time to move on as you say Robin. Hope sheldon does hear a few cheers tonight and Ignores the boo's.

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#19 The Beaker
March 02 2012, 06:43AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

A case study in the exponential affect of applying bullheaded egos to a poor choice of words used in the heat of a frustrating time.

I really dont know what to think about the whole situation but this wasnt just something said in "the heat of the moment". He had time to think this out, ask for a trade privately, get mad, then sit down with a reporter to articulate a position.

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#20 book¡e
March 02 2012, 07:35AM
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The fact that Souray is acting humble now probably has to do with the big dose of humble pie that was served to him.

I dont understand how you think that changes the situation 2 years ago. Souray did something stupid. Tambi reacted like any GM would (though I suspect some would not have been so kind as to buy him out in year two).

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#21 book¡e
March 02 2012, 07:37AM
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@The Beaker

And then three months later when there was talk of reconciliation and Souray took a few more jabs in the press destroying any possibility of the Oilers taking him back.

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#22 Ed in Mada
March 02 2012, 07:37AM
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SS said what he said in an attemp to get ST and KL so pissed at him that they would trade him asap for anything. At the time SS had the right to name 10 teams he would accept a trade to. As of July 1 that year he no longer had that in his contract and the OIl could trade him any where they chose.

It didn't work out fo SS as the Oil were not bullied into a quick trade and SS had to ride the busses in the AHL for a year.

I don't like to judge a book by it's cover but SS looks like he has the IQ of a gnat and I think his actions have proven that out.

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#23 Clarkenstein
March 02 2012, 08:21AM
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Souray simply stated what everybody knew about LoweBellini!! Klowe's record speaks for itself. The reputation continues with the Hemsky price tag... a couple good toe drags per game and voila... $10 Mil. What a country!!

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#24 DT
March 02 2012, 08:26AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

We're sorry Sheldon....you were right all along.

At the time I thought that Souray's criticisms of management were unfounded, but now I have trouble disagreeing with anything that he said.

For example, this year it seems that Nuge, Hemsky and Whitney were all rushed back into the lineup before their injuries were healed, resulting in substandard play and/or further injury. Why does that sound so familiar?

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#25 Gitagrip
March 02 2012, 08:44AM
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Winner Winner. Hemsky - 10M, Hemsky Bashers - 0. Get over it. Move along, nothing more to see here.

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#26 Smokey
March 02 2012, 08:47AM
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Sheldon should be cheered for saying what every Oiler's fan believes, this management is inept. Some media types think speaking your mind equals throwing people under a bus, but some of see this for what it was. A player speaks his mind, and the organization paints him like a cancer. Tambo is bum, and I hope Shelly gets a nice welcome in his home town.

Hope the fans show class to Sheldon, the people who boo don't represent many of Oiler's fan. Its time we stop booing, and send a message to the rest of the NHL that the fans are classy and this a great place to play.

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#27 They're $hittie
March 02 2012, 08:58AM
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@Time Travelling Sean

amen,

why are people hypnotised to think omark is a good player because he can stick handle. As Gregor said, maybe he is a top 6 forward but not on a playoff team. With all the small players in our line up, (eberle, gagner, hemsky, nuge), already did more before they were 20 in the NHL than omark at 25 in the AHL, there is simply no room for him.

I believe he is at his highest value right now because other team may have this misconception also because they have seen limited play of him as compared to the oilers. Trade now. Who knows maybe under the right team he can eventually become a player. Not going to happen here though.

Same thing with Kadri. This guy sucks. Taken out of spite and way ahead of ranking just to spite Ottawa. Stick Handling does not equal a good hockey player.

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#28 Oilcruzer
March 02 2012, 09:12AM
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book¡e wrote:

And then three months later when there was talk of reconciliation and Souray took a few more jabs in the press destroying any possibility of the Oilers taking him back.

This is all the same moment.

Had Sheldon's ego been set aside, crow eaten, and public apologies made, would Sheldon be in the minors and then bought out?

Had management said they understand the frustration as there were a string of decisions regarding health and treatment that in retrospect, we're incorrect (even if they appeared correct at the time), would Sheldon have any option but to say "fair enough, apology accepted, let's move on"

Unfortunately the lawyers won't let Oil empire apologize and the nuclear fallout remains.

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#29 Dman09
March 02 2012, 09:18AM
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Or we might see a bunch of fans jumping over the glass after he scores to kick his ass since we know that our roster is too soft to do it themselves.

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#30 The Beaker
March 02 2012, 10:06AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

I still think that Souray was right. Right to be mad IF he was pressured to come back early, right about the Mickey Mouse communication skills of the management group, right about the ineptitude of the folks in charge in E-Town.

He made it abundantly clear it wasnt a problem with the city of the fans. I'm sure the record would show that the things Souray was fed up with were repeated Ad Nauseum by many BEFORE Souray went public with his request. I certainly had no faith in Tambellini's abilities and I'm a fan of the team.

The club paid him, and still pays him (in part) to play against us because when faced with the opportunity to start over with Souray the club stood its ground. Everybody could have worked together to save face, but nobody was willing to flinch.

One thing I never got was that how the heck can they force him to play injured? He's a grown man, he had just signed a contract that wasnt going anywhere not some rookie.

He could have had some balls and said "im not ready", could you imagine if they said "we dont care get out there anyway" (at least said it directly)?

If I'm not mistaken he never ever claimed anyone said that to his face, he just felt "pressure"

Grow a set.

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#31 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
March 02 2012, 10:17AM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

I think with the Blue Jackets and Oilers both looking to be 30th and 29th respectively, with Lowe protege Howson running the ship in Columbus, I believe it is time to ask if there is something extremely flawed in the organizational philosophy that actively puts them at a disadvantage compared to other management groups.

When I look at Howson signing a winger who has fewer points per game than Hemsky to a 7.8 million dollar cap hit, I wonder.

When Lowe signs Horcoff to a 5.5 cap hit a year in advance of UFA after a season that was much better than his average performance, I wonder.

When Howson trades for a player in Jack Johnson who has been described by observers and statistical analysis alike as a very poor defender, I wonder.

When Tambellini trades a player to get essentially the same player with less offense, just because the organization wants to have an equal number of "offense" and "defense" players, I wonder.

My read is that they believe all the hockey myths. That "being tough to play against" is important (Detroit is tough to play against--reason: they're good). That rebuilds are made entirely out of young players. That you can have too many puck-moving defencemen. Or that high draft picks just need some coaching to blossom. They seem to be trying to win by constructing a narrative that fits into a newspaper story, rather than looking more deeply at facts.

They have some excellent players. But I don't trust a GM like Tambellini to make the right decision with a player like Omark. When I look at Omark, I see a hockey player. I see a player that has found a unique way to be effective at hockey at a high level. I think Steve Tambellini is prone to making some arbitrary determination that Omark cannot be good, because this team needs Lucic, and Omark is bad because he isn't Lucic. I hope I am wrong, but I think this organization's unwillingness to appreciate good players for being good regardless of HOW they do it is reflected in the Gilbert trade. And that makes me nervous--how many downgrades like that will it take them to miss their cup window?

No matter how much I like Tambi I find that my logic seems trumped by your logic. I will shut up now!

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#32 Jimmer
March 02 2012, 10:19AM
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@ Brownlee

Maybe you should suggest that he get a tattoo of himself shirtless riding a unicorn holding a spear about to slay a serpent with two heads...where one head is Tambo and the other is K-Lowe.

Just saying...

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#33 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
March 02 2012, 10:21AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Point is, there are no clean hands here on either side.

I have to admit that your Avatar really changes the way I perceive your comments. When ever I read what you write I always hear #11's voice reading it to me. I try to type a rebuttal but I find my knees start to shake and I have a flashback of his elbow hitting some Russian. Suddenly I can't type.

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#34 Matt Henderson
March 02 2012, 10:23AM
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@The Beaker

I'm not saying he had no fault, I'm saying that the Organization was acting Mickey Mouse and he had a right to be upset.

Athletes are under all kinds of pressure already to play hurt. Why do they need more from management? You think the Penguins are pressuring Sid to play right now?

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#35 Rob...
March 02 2012, 10:29AM
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Regarding: "he'd turned his back on a city far more publicly than Chris Pronger". He turned his back on the Oilers organization for sure. To die-hard fans this meant he turned his back on them as well. With that said, didn't he try to make it quite clear though that he liked the city and the fans?

I still think his statements were stupid, and given what he was being paid he should have just shut the hell up and did his job. Same goes for Nash, Smyth, Pronger, and anyone else who is paid an incredible salary and agrees to a contract.

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Forget Tambo and Lowe, IMO this came straight from D Katz. You don't run a successful multi million $$ business by surrounding yourself with turncoats. Whether or not Souray had a legitimate complaint, he should not have taken it outside of the organization. This guy bit the hand that was feeding him. He deserves what he got. What a waste of talent!

He's a great example of what most of us North Americans suffer from. Sometimes, we're more concerned about our rights than our duties.

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#37 Bsouray
March 02 2012, 10:31AM
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Souray was also asked if he would except a trade to San Jose while in the hos with an infection after braking his hand, I'd be choked to

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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

I have to admit that your Avatar really changes the way I perceive your comments. When ever I read what you write I always hear #11's voice reading it to me. I try to type a rebuttal but I find my knees start to shake and I have a flashback of his elbow hitting some Russian. Suddenly I can't type.

It has a different effect on me. It makes me want some Lays chips.

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#39 mr_nihilism
March 02 2012, 10:44AM
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"Studley Wonderbomb"

I lol'd at that and wouldn't be surprised if the Big Sexy did slap one in the net. Sure he's saying all the right things (by not saying anything), but he'll be a little extra motivated.

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#40 PaperDesigner
March 02 2012, 10:45AM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Ok 4 things.

Nash scores 30-40 goals, 60-70 points, Hemmer gets 15-20 goals, 60-70 points. Is Nash overpaid? Yes. Is he a franchise changing player? Yes. Is Hemmer? No. Did Columbus need to overpay him to stay? Probably.

Jack Johnson and a first, from maybe a 10th place team, for a player who didn't want to be there?

Would I trade Voracek and Couturier for Johnson and a 12th-17th pick? Maybe, but probably not.

Gilbert and Schultz are two different players. Schultz is better defensively, more focused and committed to defence, rather than Gilbert being a hybrid.

They filled a need, Gilbert was appreciated, as seen in getting a fan favourite in Schultz from Minny.

Also who's to say Gilbert didn't request a trade? He didn't seem surprised or worried about being traded.

Is the trade progress? I think Schultz is an upgrade defensively, advanced stats or not.I think it was a good trade, but time will tell.

Omark is slow, has 5 goals in 56 games, and is 25? 26? He has put up points wherever he went, just not at the NHL level, and is more likely than not to be following Rob Schremp's road.

My problem is that Nash is a very good, not elite winger, that they overpaid when Nash does not have the capability of being the centrepiece of a rebuild. An excellent complementary player. Do I think Hemsky is a better player? No, but they are in the same ballpark. And Nash was signed long term, indicating 7.8 was considered a cap concession on his part.

The thing is... I haven't heard a compelling argument for why Jack Johnson is a good hockey player.

Schremp never had Omark's history of success in multiple professional leagues. He has been a high end winger in the AHL, KHL, and SEL. And has scored, in his first season in the NHL, at a .5 points per game pace. Cherry picking five goals (which is ironically what the mainstream media has done with Hemsky after one poor season out of the past seven, at least, when he's been playing) as a stat, or if you want, zero points in five games there have been other players on this team that have gone longer without) is simply trying to fit a previous narrative (small skilled, seemingly cocky player that can't find a spot) to a player that has had more signs of success.

How is Schultz a better defensive player than Gilbert? I am not denying the possibility, but so far, all I have heard is the narrative that Gilbert is a more offensive player and Schultz is more defensive. Honestly, the two are not mutually exclusive. One involves knowing what to do when your team does have the puck, and one when your team does not have the. Puck. They can't happen at the same time. Gilbert was quite capable in both situations. I am still waiting to see some proof of Schultz's superiority in either area

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#41 Eddie Shore
March 02 2012, 11:03AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

I'm not saying he had no fault, I'm saying that the Organization was acting Mickey Mouse and he had a right to be upset.

Athletes are under all kinds of pressure already to play hurt. Why do they need more from management? You think the Penguins are pressuring Sid to play right now?

Why did he have a "right" to be upset again?

Oh, and booooooooooooo Comr, I mean Heat, I mean Prong..no no I mean Souray. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
March 02 2012, 11:15AM
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If the Oilers could put this behind them, i could see him still being a pretty reliable 3-4 on the Oilers next season. What more could you ask from a 3-4 guy that Souray doesn't already have in spades.

Now that Tambellini has his severance package pre-arranged, if he's gone at years end maybe it's possible.

If there was ever an opportunity to support a former Oilers return to Edmonton, this would be it. The Fans should celebrate every Souray point this evening to show their dissatisfaction with Oiler management.

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@PaperDesigner

"But I don't trust a GM like Tambellini to make the right decision with a player like Omark. When I look at Omark, I see a hockey player. I see a player that has found a unique way to be effective at hockey at a high level. I think Steve Tambellini is prone to making some arbitrary determination that Omark cannot be good, because this team needs Lucic, and Omark is bad because he isn't Lucic. I hope I am wrong, but I think this organization's unwillingness to appreciate good players for being good regardless of HOW they do it is reflected in the Gilbert trade."

This is my favorite part of your post. Thanks for a good laugh on this glorious Friday.

You criticize ST for supposedly making arbitrary determination on Omark but you are doing the same thing. I'm guessing ST has a lot more hockey resources than you have so doesn't that make your determination way more arbitrary?? Yes the kettle is black.

The Horcoff signing looks like a horrible move now but at the time it wasn't too bad. I wasn't a big fan of Horcoff when he first came on the scene. I thought he was getting way too much ice time. But look at his #'s year by year. It kept improving every year. At the time of the signing, all the signs point to a guy ready to break out. Hard worker, two way center, has some size, Stanley Cup finalist, all star and the offense was rounding into form.

Omark may very well become an NHLer. At this point he has half a season under his belt and you think the organization is somehow not giving him a fair shake. Yet you criticize the Horcoff signing even though he had years of history that suggest he might be a good #1 center.

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#44 Romulus' Apotheosis
March 02 2012, 11:38AM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Point is, there are no clean hands here on either side.

I basically agree with this.. but with a huge caveat.

One side is charged with the enormous responsibility of steering a team and all its tentacles in the right direction NO MATTER WHAT. That means the baser human tendencies - pettiness, rigidity, ego-mania, petulance, etc. - have an extraordinary ripple effect at an organizational level. Making decisions based on spite has a community impact.

The other side is charged with the relatively minor responsibility of steering his own course of life and those under his direct charge. If he chooses to let loose his baser tendencies and act the fool his responsibility ends at self-inflicted damage (even if that damage has a larger effect he has no contractual responsibility to answer for it). In this case, he didn't even lose a paycheck, only the respect of some (not even all) on-lookers.

With that said... there are no clean hands here regarding the powerfully stupid tendencies of humans. But one side was much freer to exercise those tendencies than the other. That makes for a much graver case for management.

This is hardly isolated. KL let his reckless emotions get the better of him more than once too:

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=4323

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#45 tileguy
March 02 2012, 11:39AM
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I read ion today's newspaper that Linus Omark should be the most obvious call-up, duh. This is almost as pressing of an issue as what to do with Hemsky. Is he or is he not a talent capable of making this team better? I say 20 games with top line talent decides his fate. What are the odds that Tambo will do it?

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#46 andrewmk20
March 02 2012, 12:00PM
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@PaperDesigner

ummm... did you pay attention to Nash's career at all. I know we Edmontonians don't get Blue Jacket games on TV but even from a distance Rick Nash's skills are apparent. We talk about Hemsky having no one to play off of during his entire tenure and the argument can be made that Nash was in an even worse situation. Horcoff at least peaked at one point as a near ppg player from 05-07 and played some great hockey which also coincides with Hemsky's best seasons here. Nash didn't even have an overachieving 2B centre to play off of. I think the best skill player he ever lined up with was Huselius and Albertans saw him in Calgary and he is wildly inconsistent and really picks and chooses when to be motivated to play. If Nash was in a situation where he even had a young gun like RNH playing with him he'd easily be a 80-90 point player. He's huge at 6'4 217, has an elite shot, tough to knock off the puck, durable, and skates really well.

Also Jack Johnson isn't a very good hockey player. A defensive sinkhole (in LA too) with decent offensive skills. He's still fairly young but it seems unlikely he manages to refine a very poor defensive game.

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#47 FastOil
March 02 2012, 12:35PM
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PaperDesigner wrote:

I think with the Blue Jackets and Oilers both looking to be 30th and 29th respectively, with Lowe protege Howson running the ship in Columbus, I believe it is time to ask if there is something extremely flawed in the organizational philosophy that actively puts them at a disadvantage compared to other management groups.

When I look at Howson signing a winger who has fewer points per game than Hemsky to a 7.8 million dollar cap hit, I wonder.

When Lowe signs Horcoff to a 5.5 cap hit a year in advance of UFA after a season that was much better than his average performance, I wonder.

When Howson trades for a player in Jack Johnson who has been described by observers and statistical analysis alike as a very poor defender, I wonder.

When Tambellini trades a player to get essentially the same player with less offense, just because the organization wants to have an equal number of "offense" and "defense" players, I wonder.

My read is that they believe all the hockey myths. That "being tough to play against" is important (Detroit is tough to play against--reason: they're good). That rebuilds are made entirely out of young players. That you can have too many puck-moving defencemen. Or that high draft picks just need some coaching to blossom. They seem to be trying to win by constructing a narrative that fits into a newspaper story, rather than looking more deeply at facts.

They have some excellent players. But I don't trust a GM like Tambellini to make the right decision with a player like Omark. When I look at Omark, I see a hockey player. I see a player that has found a unique way to be effective at hockey at a high level. I think Steve Tambellini is prone to making some arbitrary determination that Omark cannot be good, because this team needs Lucic, and Omark is bad because he isn't Lucic. I hope I am wrong, but I think this organization's unwillingness to appreciate good players for being good regardless of HOW they do it is reflected in the Gilbert trade. And that makes me nervous--how many downgrades like that will it take them to miss their cup window?

This pretty much sums it up. I like your point about Howson, I was thinking exactly the same thing after him taking Johnson on. He got diddly for a player most consider very good (whether he is or not), seemingly going on mythology and reputation.

I would say Schultz was bought on the same and not his current play. This seems very much how former players would think. I wonder if agents don't make better GM's because the skill set needed is in place, from the other side of the table.

There is something deeply flawed and completely ill informed at the core of these two teams. After the Gilbert deal I think it is now fair to say and clear that the current management does not know what they are doing.

We can only hope Katz is more a business man than a jock buddy and saves his team from destruction before Steve-O or whoever is firing the two brain cells starts trying to deal much more. There is danger if they have to think of more than which of the two best players to choose.

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#48 mayorpoop
March 02 2012, 12:49PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

This is an NHL where Ville Leino and James Van Riemsdyk can make 4+ Million Dollars a year.

Think about that as the standard for the Marketplace.

5 Mill a season for Ales Hemsky isnt even CLOSE to outlandish.

not outlandish, you are correct. too much? yep.

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#49 PaperDesigner
March 02 2012, 01:22PM
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mayorpoop wrote:

not outlandish, you are correct. too much? yep.

How? A player has has historically put up what would amount to a 70 point pace, easily first line numbers, heading into his late twenties? Your sense of what percentage of the cap a player is worth is way out of whack.

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#50 Clyde Frog
March 02 2012, 02:02PM
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@PaperDesigner

Because JF Jaques was a coke machine that could skate...

Petrell, Hordichuk, Lander, Eager all play a fundamentally different game and don't require PP time to build successful seasons. Most of them can play PK and be responsible first, while also adding a physical/intimidation aspect to their game.

Omark cannot replace what any of those aformentioned players do, he would play a completely different game.

If you bring Omark up its not to be an effective shutdown 3rd or 4th line role player, sure he can add a scoring threat on 4th line minutes... But without PP time and a physical edge he is going to get eaten up and stats will suffer when he makes beautiful saucer passes onto Hordichuk's stick.

So the question isn't about taking people out of the bottom 6, but who do you drop from the top? Also why mess with out League leading powerplay?

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