Wanye loses it

Alright, we’ve had it, Nation. It’s our patriotic duty to defend a man whom no one has had the sack to defend thus far. A guy that has taken more shots to the face than 50 Cent—for things that are not his fault.

All this Sheldon Souray bashing has got to stop.

Yeah, we get it. Sheldon Souray isn’t the strongest defensive defenceman in the league. Big deal. Defensive defenceman aren’t exactly the rarest commodity in the league—but a defenseman with Souray’s shot and goal scoring potential number about five or six tops. And guess what? They all make his kind of money. Now before you go and start correcting us showing salary cap numbers that show a player who makes $15,000 less per year than Souray and had two more points—stuff it. Now is not the time to get cute.

All Sheldon Souray has ever done was go out two seasons ago and have a career season in his option year then sign with the Oil with a contract all sides will admit was rich. He had the nerve to score 26 goals and collect 38 assists in his final season Chez Habs. Will he do this ever again? Who cares? If he does, he will do it in an Oilers uniform ‘cause he’s locked up for a long time coming.

You know who scores 26 goals in a season? Power wingers getting first-line ice time and plenty of PP to boot. And do you know what those power wingers make? Sheldon Souray-type money. He may never score 26 goals again—but he will improve the power play considerably and will also make Visnovsky passes go through the back of the net. If the mouth-breathing fans among us love someone who can “SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT,” they have their overlord and master for years to come.

All Sheldon Souray did was sign here in an off-season when the Oil had been unable to sign anyone to anything all summer long. Players’ wives were overriding agents and nixing deals to Edmonton, for heaven’s sakes. Sheldon Souray—who is a legitimate star in this league—had the nerve to say he was signing in Edmonton and it was a dream come true. He went on to say that he was from Alberta and that playing for the Oilers was a rare kind of privilege. And then he defended Edmonton in the media calling it a great city and wonderful place to play with top shelf fans. Then he gets injured and plays a shortened season.

Holy Smokes, Nation. Everyone needs to take a 100 CCs of chill pill, stat. Calling him overpaid and a bum is total BS. No wonder some players hate us Oilers fans. He signs a long-term deal during a time when the Oilers couldn’t even sign ushers for Oil Kings games. He heaps praise on the team, the City and the fans and then plays a shortened season due to an injury that required major surgery. Hardly cause to call him out.

Think about it:

If you’re Sheldon Souray, an admittedly “larger than life” type personality in the NHL, people are invariably going to ask you about the City in which you live. And don’t you all think that the youth of the NHL are going to hang on Souray’s every word in response? If you’re some dink like Jeff Finger and you run into Sheldon Souray, Souray is going to run your show. There’s just no two ways about it. And if he says “Edmonton is a great place to be” then all of a sudden Edmonton is a great place to be and the word gets out. It’s as simple as that. And if he says “Dang, Edmonton is cold and the fan base is a joke. All they’ve done since I got there is piss and moan,” that gets around and opinions of Edmonton sink lower in certain circles.

If we were Sheldon Souray we would absolutely hate Edmonton—particularly all of us Oilers fans. But he seems to be cool as a cucumber. Does he make hateful statements in the media? No. Has he demanded a trade? No. Has he knocked up a local… Ah forget it.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions here.

  1. Is it Sheldon Souray’s fault that he got a fat contract from the Mighty Oil?
    Hells no. As if anyone in the Nation would ever turn down a massive raise. “Gee, I dunno about that offer Kevin. It seems a bit rich to me, I’ll come for less.” Not going to happen.
  2. Does Sheldon Souray signing in Edmonton and speaking positively to other players around the league increase the Oil’s chances of landing other top UFAs?
    Yes. Souray is a guy players listen to—whether he has good or bad things to say. A happy Souray will lure other players here. Good players too, not Grebeshkov types.
  3. Is it completely counter-productive to chirp Sheldon Souray going into the 2008–09 season, before the puck has even dropped?
    Yes. If you have to chirp someone, chirp Grebeshkov. That guy is a goat. Leave Sheldon Souray alone.

Sheldon Souray is our second star for the upcoming season. Gods help you all when he does well.

  • I have no issues with Souray as a player or the amount he signed for.

    He fills a needed role and from the time he spent in the line up last year he fills that role better than his reputation suggested.

    I think the heart of the issue for fans, even more so than the money, is his health. That was one part of his reputation that did prove true.

    Since he finally had the proper, more comprehensive, surgery last year I am optimistic that we will see a much healthier season from the guy.

    However I retain the right to retract that optimism if on the first day of camp he pulls up with a lower back injury….like he did last year.

  • Totally,absolutely agree, Wanyester! Souray was exactly what the team needed after our post SCF/FCP/RyanSmythlessness season- a reason to hope for better days, and a solid, solid reason to boot. I am on side to believe that Souray will be the team's top d-man, in terms of not just points, but toughness, leadership and character. Book it.

  • Oh god. Wait til Willis gets his hands on you and smacks some sense and numbers into your skull.

    You can point to his goal scoring all you want, but I'll point to his durability, which (to put it nicely) doesn't exist. He's had one season, one with a full schedule. And we're paying him 5.5 Million to lie on the trainer's table? He's the defense's answer to Ethan Moreau. Even with uncle pennybags handing out the dough these days, we can't afford to waste cap space on that kind of player. Our defense just isn't that good. What's this nice little tidbit I've just noticed on his TSN.ca bio…


    And he could very well do it again.

    He's got the shot yes, that's a bonus. But you can bet teams will focus on it, playing so tight to Souray that he won't be able to get the shot off, and cause turnovers because Hemsky will try to feather pass after pass to him because MacT tells him to.

    You can't make me like the Sheldon Souray contract, even if he replicates his "success" of two years ago.

  • "You can’t make me like the Sheldon Souray contract, even if he replicates his “success” of two years ago."

    No one is suggesting you should ever like the contract. Don't hate the player hate the game.

    I am surprised to see Wanye get riled up like this! The season must be right around the corner!

  • attaboy wayne…let em have it. there is too much negativity surronding this city and team. i would understand a little more if it was january and souray was having a terrible first half, but training camp has not started yet and we can not start bashing a much improved team before we see some results.

  • Two points, before get into Souray:

    1) Souray's contract is Lowe's fault, not Souray's. The fact that he is overpaid shouldn't affect like/dislike of him as a player.
    2) Souray brings a lot of positives to the table (special teams, toughness, etc.) and seems like a solid character player.

    I've talked about Souray at some length earlier this summer, and my opinion is the same. He isn't (on average) the player he was in Montreal in 2006-07. He isn't a train-wreck defensively at even-strength, and he isn't an all-star powerplay option. He also isn't consistently healthy.

    I think ideally you play him on the second pairing at even strength with a mobile defenseman (Gilbert, Grebeshkov, etc.), and give him tons of special teams time. On a multi-faceted powerplay (like Montreal's) he's a great weapon, on one like Edmonton's, he'll be OK.

    And ideally you don't pay him more than 4 million a season.

    As for this coming year, if he gets put in the brutal shutdown role that Huddy's forecast a couple of times now (with Staios) he's going to look really bad because neither of these guys can handle elite opposition. If he's put in a more sheltered role, he'll be just fine.

  • Why do the Oiler faithful always pick on the big money players? The points per dollar stat is stupid and useless.
    The Economic value of a player is set by the market.
    As Fan's, we should should judge our Players by their level of commitment, execution, and ability to entertain.

    Good luck Souray!

  • I totally agree with the article, except why pick on Grebeshkov? Sure he makes stupid plays on occasion but show me a young defensman in the NHL who doesn't do that. Considering his skills, I think we have to give the guy a little slack for now while he develops. I think he steadily improved last year and showed glimces of brilliance along the way. Simply put, he made plays that showed he has elite skills.

    The same idiots who yell "SHOOOOOOOOT" during an Oil 5 on 3, are the same twits who scream out "Garbage-kov" as if it's they were the first person witty enough to come up with that nick-name. These are also the same tools who riot on Whyte after playoff wins. Fans like that give the true-blues a bad rap, and should all move to Calgary. Not grouping you with that group Gretz, but come on, give my boy Grebs a break!

  • Does Sheldon Souray signing in Edmonton and speaking positively to other players around the league increase the Oil’s chances of landing other top UFAs?

    Not if they're interested in getting paid too. The money's already been spent.

  • Not if they’re interested in getting paid too. The money’s already been spent.

    Now there's a conundrum! Must have been why Hossa and Jagr turned Kevin down. "Love to play there Kev, but Sheldon has all the money"

  • mc79hockey

    I hardly think that one $6.25 million dollar contract qualifies the Oilers as 'spent' but the point of a vocal leader enticing players to their city is valid.


    I am already chirping Grebeshkov as my first worst star for the season and I am getting ready for the season to begin by training myself mercilessly.

    He is my goat for the year and ergo everything is his fault. Chaz – you want Grebs to be your boy? Make him your first star and put pen to paper:


  • The Economic value of a player is set by the market.

    Well, sort of, because personally I think the value of a player is set by whichever GM's the stupidest at that moment in time.

    As Fan’s, we should should judge our Players by their level of commitment, execution, and ability to entertain.

    Sure, judge players by whatever you like. Judge GM's by the moves they make – Souray's contract reflects more on Lowe than Souray, IMO.

  • Now there’s a conundrum! Must have been why Hossa and Jagr turned Kevin down. “Love to play there Kev, but Sheldon has all the money”

    We have no idea how much Jagr was offered. As for Hossa, the Oilers would have had to dump guys in order to accomodate his contract – Souray and Lowe's other mistake from the failed "If we make it rain, nobody will notice how fucking bad we are" summer were both obvious candidates.

  • Wayne you make an excellent point on Souray, this guy doesn't deserve the flak he's getting… and then you ripped my heart out by bashing Grebeshkov (GreBESTkov). Well I've had enough, and I'm following that link of yours and making him my first star for the year. Goat: honestly, Souray.

  • Souray's issues are well documented, the biggest being that he is to durability what Luc Bourdon is to traffic safety. But I am most excited to see how his leadership will help Edmonton attract UFA's. We've seen it already this summer with the signings of…er…uh…um. Okay, nobody's bothered coming to Edmonton, but when they do: it'll be awesome!