ROOKIE BATTLE OF ALBERTA AND SO LONG SOURAY

It is fitting that the morning of a rookie installment of the Battle of Alberta, Steve v. Sheldon rages to a new level. For the past few months most of the focus in Oilerville surrounded the arrival of Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi.

Every now and then Souray’s status would grab a headline, and so did Khabiboozin’s court case, but until last night, when Steve Tambellini stated "Sheldon is not welcome at camp," most in Oilerville were giddy about the potential of TMJ and assumed the Souray situation would eventurally work itself out.

I’ll admit I was a bit surprised that Tambellini elected to ban Souray from training camp. I thought they’d let him showcase himself in training camp and the preseason and then work out a trade, but it is clear that Tambellini feels Souray’s presence around the kids, even for a brief time, wasn’t worth the risk.

It is a risky call by Tambellini, but I’ll give him credit for making a statement. Tambelllini is standing by his word that he wants no part of players who don’t want to be here. I don’t agree with banishing Souray from camp, but being a leader requires the guts to make a tough call and stand by it, and Tambellini has done that. And Tambellini’s action’s have made an impact on fans, media and even the players.

"I saw Steve’s comments, the only thing you can take from it is you have to watch what you say, and somethings you can’t go back on," said Taylor Hall. "I don’t know Sheldon personally, I don’t know what he went through at all, and I don’t know what Steve is thinking. Every word can change a sentance, and a sentance can change a whole story so you have to watch what you say."

***Robin Brownlee met with Souray around noon today, and he’ll have an indepth reaction from Souray later today on the OilersNation for your reading pleasure.***

NO HALL, EBERLE or PAAJARVI

None of the big three look like they will dress tonight v. the Flames. Milan Kytnar is the other forward who will watch from the stands. It makes sense to sit them out tonight, because tomorrow’s game should be a better test for them. San Jose has a lot of veterans on their squad and that should be a better primer leading in to main camp on Saturday. Jeff Petry skated today, but they won’t rush him back and risk him aggravating his injury.

Here’s how the lines looked at the skate this morning.

Hamilton/Vande Velde/Livingston
Cornet/Matrtindale/Thomas
Czerwonka/Pitlick/Pelss
Hartikainen/Schaber/Abney

Schlumpf/Plante
Davidson/Marincin
Bendfeld/Toigo

Bunz will start in goal.

Tonight’s game won’t have the same flair without TMJ, but it will allow me to focus on some of the other prospects. I’m going to focus on Hamilton, Cornet, Martindale (who really struggled in game one), Davidson, Plante and how Pitlick plays without Paajarvi. Of course I will give an update on other guys that stick out or struggle, but those are the six I will monitor closely.

TILLMAN IN

The Edmonton Eskimos hired Eric Tillman this morning, and the reaction will be heated. As a football hire, it is a great move, but Tillman’s action’s with his babysitter were grossly inappropriate and for many fans his actions are unforgiveable.

I felt it was too early to hire Tillman. His case is still fresh in people’s mind, and the optics don’t look good. In a few years, like most things in life, people become more tolerant and forgiving. The only positive for Tillman is that the football bar has been set pretty low by former GM, Danny Maciocia.

Tillman has a lot of work to do to repair the damage left on the field by Maciocia, but Tillman has always been good at evaluating talent. It will be interesting to watch how he handles the inevitable backlash from many fans.

had a guy call into my show yesterday who had been molested as a kid, and he made a pretty strong point. "What Tillman did was inappropriate, but it was much different than sexual assault. Anyone who thinks it is the same has never been assaulted. Clearly it was wrong, but those who are upset better have no skeletons in their closet."

We will never find out the entire story of what happened in Regina, but if the girl and her family have forgiven Tillman, I expect it will be a matter of time before most Eskimo fans do the same. Tillman will have this follow him the rest of his life, and he should, and that is punishment enough for me. He will never be held in the same regard as he was before, regardless of how many games the Eskimos win during his tenure.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Gregor on the whole it was too soon to sign a guy like Tillman that was discussed with Barnes yesterday. How long is long enough? Outside of the normal “well longer then it has been”.

    I really have to problem with the comment it was too early, but no one really has an answer to when is better.

    Not sure letting this shat show go on for the rest of the year and wait for all the other candidates would’ve been the best option. Tillman can come in and still get this team into the playoffs and at the sametime rebuild them.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I just want to say I check this site everyday and think it has the best and most up to date and accurate info on the web for an oilers fan. Jason, as always, has a great point in the Tillman situation, its too early. Buy my second point, albeit a lot more selfish, is that I am a rider fan, and now because of Tillmans actions my team will suffer, and the Eskies benefit. I guarantee that more than a few rider personnel will follow Tillman to Edmonton, not to mention a few players. In all fairness, this happens all the time, its the sports industry, personnel changes are common place, especially with GM’s. But the big difference is we(Rider fans) lost a valuable asset because he did something wrong,and not related to football, yes he was on prescription drugs, yes it was just a touch and nothing more, but why should it be the rider fans who are gonna get screwed. I think the league should follow up with its code of conduct policies and treat him like a player. I know he lost a lot, and it was one mistake, but if the eskies go on to success in the next couple of years I can tell you there will be a lot of sore feelings coming from Saskatchewan.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I just want to say I check this site everyday and think it has the best and most up to date and accurate info on the web for an oilers fan. Jason, as always, has a great point in the Tillman situation, its too early. Buy my second point, albeit a lot more selfish, is that I am a rider fan, and now because of Tillmans actions my team will suffer, and the Eskies benefit. I guarantee that more than a few rider personnel will follow Tillman to Edmonton, not to mention a few players. In all fairness, this happens all the time, its the sports industry, personnel changes are common place, especially with GM’s. But the big difference is we(Rider fans) lost a valuable asset because he did something wrong,and not related to football, yes he was on prescription drugs, yes it was just a touch and nothing more, but why should it be the rider fans who are gonna get screwed. I think the league should follow up with its code of conduct policies and treat him like a player. I know he lost a lot, and it was one mistake, but if the eskies go on to success in the next couple of years I can tell you there will be a lot of sore feelings coming from Saskatchewan.