Sheldon Souray will not be attending training camp with the Edmonton Oilers. And it will be because the management of the team has decided they don’t want him to.
As always seems to be the case with the Oilers, the details of communication between management and player are a little sketchy, with the Oilers claiming they told Souray a week ago he wasn’t welcome, and Souray claiming he found out earlier today. I’m not sure which is correct; on the one hand is the Oilers’ slipshod record, while on the other hand is Souray’s more conciliatory public tone prior to the announcement that he wouldn’t be coming back.
I’m of the opinion that the truth here is important, but that there’s very little way to know what it is, so the issue of who said what when can be tabled for the time being.
In any case, I find myself in agreement with the Oilers here, despite my previous suggestion that Steve Tambellini should swallow his pride and take Souray back. My point of view changed back in late August, when Souray let it be known “that the team has made no effort to smooth things over with him.” Sportsnet published that little tidbit, but Souray wasn’t making any secret about his stance.
That grumbling was what convinced me that Souray had little interest in reconciliation; that the only way to bring him back would require a humiliatingly one-sided effort by Steve Tambellini. That’s not an acceptable sacrifice for any manager, not so much because I care if Tambellini needs to grovel a little for the good of the team but because the image of the general manager brought to his knees by any player would set an unacceptable precedent for an organization that has already shown far too much willingness to bend for the player of the week.
I still don’t think this situation falls entirely on Souray, and I’m still no supporter of Steve Tambellini, but I’m not going to beat up on him for making the right decision here.