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.
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.
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.