Better safe than Souray

The inclination to play through pain and rush back from injury is part of the DNA of NHL players like Sheldon Souray, so it’s no surprise he’s eager to get back in the Edmonton Oilers line-up.

The good new for Oilers fans is that Souray, out since the third game of the season with a concussion after being ridden into the end boards by Jarome Iginla, has taken a step towards a return. He’s skated on his own the past two days and says he feels fine.

The reality of the situation, though, is that Souray can’t say for certain when he’ll be back in the line–up, even though he hopes to be feeling well enough to join the team on an upcoming five-game road trip — not to play, but to get back into the routine of morning skates and practices.

As badly as the Oilers have missed him, Souray’s been around long enough to know he can’t rush it, and that his brain will tell him when he’s ready to play again, not the other way around.

Patience is prudent approach, even after a month of watching Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov flail around without the big man with the booming slapshot on the back end.

Little steps

"I feel OK," Souray told assembled reporters today at Rexall Place after the Oilers morning skate in preparation for tonight’s game with the New York Rangers.

"Its nice to get out there and skate a little bit and get workouts back in there. It’s been a long few weeks of a holding pattern, of waiting to get better. It’s nice to see some progress."

"Some progress," for those familiar with concussions, doesn’t guarantee anything in terms of a return date. Souray could improve over the next few days to the point where he does join the team on the road.

Souray could improve to the point where he joins the team and then ups the intensity of workouts to include full drills and then even some contact. He could be back in the line-up within two weeks.

Or, as history has shown, Souray could wake up tomorrow morning feeling sick, dizzy and disoriented. There is no straight-line recovery time like with a broken bone or a torn-up hamstring.

"I guess the most frustrating is that there is no timetable," Souray said. "Most injuries I’ve had before, you’re out for six weeks, you come back in six weeks, or thereabouts.

"This has been something you deal with day-to-day. It’s in your head, too. It’s not like something that’s your shoulder and you can feel it. It’s in your head.

"So it’s been a bit of a frustrating injury, more so than any other physical injury I’ve ever had."

In to stay

As much as Oilers fans would like to see Souray back as soon as possible, and understandably so, a brain injury, which is what a concussion is, isn’t something you can gut out and play through.

Jarret Stoll tried it a few seasons back after being pitched into the boards by Sammy Pahlsson and had his season ended in a subsequent game against the Vancouver Canucks by nothing more than incidental contact.

Paul Comrie, you might remember, suffered a concussion in a game with the Hamilton Bulldogs after starting the season with the Oilers. Comrie felt well enough to finish the game, and did. He never played again.

"You can’t say you’re close or you’re far," Souray said. "Guys come back too early and have setbacks.

"We’re trying to handle this the right way and make sure that when I do come back I’m not coming back for one game and it being over. I’ll come back when I feel 100 per cent."

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • As much as the team could use his booming shot and physical presence, it would be a mistake to rush his return. It is great that he is hungry to get back but as you stated RB, "a brain injury, which is what a concussion is, isn't something you can gut out and play through."

    These things take time and unfortunately Souray, the Oil and the fans have to be patient for a little longer.

  • hopefully we can start playing energy type hockey again and Souray can concentrate on getting better then worrying about hurrying back to carry the team on his shoulders!

    Concussions are nasty business. I'm very happy to here that skates and workouts are going well!

    Thanks for the update Robin!

  • I always wondered how Paul Comrie would have done if he'd been able to continue. Glad to see Sheldon is taking the necessary precautions. We'll need him when the sledding gets really tough after Christmas.

  • Librarian Mike

    He's a great player and we could use him right about now, but you don't screw around with head injuries. Dude's got the rest of his (sexy, sexy) life to live after hockey, and that's what really matters here.

  • GSC

    For anyone who hasn't had Post-Concussion Syndrome, I can tell you from first-hand knowledge exactly what it's like: It F***ing Sucks.

    Imagine waking up with the worst hangover you've ever had, usually after a night of ridiculous boozing…usually of the Frat Party variety, when you just know you can win that longest keg-stand contest. You're sick to your stomach, dizzy, light-headed, and have a splitting headache.

    Now imagine that you wake up that way day in and day out, and just when you think it's subsiding and you're feeling good enough to go outside and exert yourself, it comes right back and makes you wish you were dead.

    That's about as good of a description as I can give. There's no way to know when (or if) the symptoms will subside. Like Souray said, one day you just wake up and it's like that night of keg stands and slamming down shots of Bicardi 151 never happened.

    It took me about 5 weeks to come back from it. I don't wish PCS upon even my worst enemies, it's an absolutely horrid way to go about your daily life.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Oddly enough Sheldon compared it to a hangover as well. I had a concussion once, but it had to been minor as it only lasted about 5 days. Still it sucked.

  • Corsby31


    How frickin hard is it to shoot????

    My god why to I continue to pay for this sh*t???

  • Corsby31

    What a Joke…god this team pisses me off…I just don't understand the lack of defence, the poor passing and tremendous lack of shooting. What is the soultion for this team? Don't tell me it's the flu or any of that sh*t, it's not. I'm really starting to think we just suck…I thought for sure we would make the playoffs; however the more I watch, we just don't have a chance. This sucks, Thanks alot Oilers…way to ruin yet another night.

  • Harlie

    what a pathetic team. luckily when they were 6-2 and given the recent past seasons i had a wait & see attitude. a change in results takes 20 games to shed the past. well…..they ain't going anywhere soon after the last 6 games debacle. flu or no flu, teams can do better than these guys certainly show. luckliy i haven't watched much the last 5 games or so either. now THAT would been a waste of precious time.

  • Harlie

    what a pathetic team. luckily when they were 6-2 and given the recent past seasons i had a wait & see attitude. a change in results takes 20 games to shed the past. well…..they ain't going anywhere soon after the last 6 games debacle. flu or no flu, teams can do better than these guys certainly show. luckliy i haven't watched much the last 5 games or so either. now THAT would have been a waste of precious time.

    • stilldrinkingthekoolaid

      I agree totally, earlier in the season the oilers were fun to watch even when losing.
      There seemed to be an effort from most, now…..
      And as the Oil sinks slowly in the west we return to the uninspired play of years gone by. Looks like it wasn't the coach after all.

  • stilldrinkingthekoolaid

    Are the Oilers a hockey team or a jockey team? They look like an Inge Hammarstrom convention out there.

    Does Grebeshkov think that by ignoring the coaching staff he is helping the team? How is someone such a gifted athlete on one hand and a mistake-prone blunderer on the other.

    How is it that the GM doesn't get the phone book out and find a 4th line centre who understands his job. Is Tambellini going to wait til the New Year to decide he doesn't have a viably competitive hockey team here and then decide to try a trade after the Oil are out of any kind of playoff contention?

    Has the GM confused patience with dithering?

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      With the way the team is playing, how much value do any of the players you'd want to trade have right now?

      I'm not saying a move doesn't need to be made, but when you're in the tank, other GMs are looking to throw you an anchor. Tambellini should have been pressing to address needs when the team was on its 6-2-1 stretch.

  • RobertC

    Wow. I just signed up today. Had a broken neck 7 years ago. Still get headaches lots of days(most severe when I watch the Oilers). You wouldn't have any fun losing all those games anyways. I did hear that Queen…oops Quinn…dam..was going to pair you with Gilbert when you get back…so if I were you, I would just retire…gotta be better than partners with Give-away-Gilbert.
    Anyway, enjoyed a little humor checking out the post. Have fun…and boo Gilbert OUT-OF-TOWN