Steve Tambellini (Correctly) Bars Souray From Camp

MONTREAL - JANUARY 25:  Sheldon Souray of the Edmonton Oilers arrives at the Versus 2009 NHL All-Star party at Club Opera on January 25, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Hey everyone…

    I’m going to throw out another angle to chew on (apologies for the awkward mix of metaphors)…

    Where’s Souray’s agent in all of this? Shouldn’t he be taking some heat? If you said yes, then we agree.

    Remember, when last we heard from Mr. Souray (excepting whatever he said in August), he wanted out. No ifs, ands or buts. He made his feelings clear.

    So Tambo tries all summer to trade him and waive him, but to no avail.

    Now, some Souray supporters are getting pissy because he may/may not have been told to stay away from camp. Can’t really say that I care either whether or not he’s been told anything by now – mainly because camp doesn’t start until next week. For all we know, Tambo could have been planning to tell Souray to stay away this weekend or on Monday or whatever.

    But that’s where Souray’s agent comes in. Shouldn’t his agent have placed a phone call to Tambo in, like, mid-August, inquiring on whether or not his client should bother booking flights north to Edmonchuck?

    I mean, I guess I don’t really know what agents do, other than negotiate contracts. Maybe that’s all they do. But if they do more, it seems to me that acting as a diplomatic envoy between Camp Souray and Camp Tambo might have been a good idea.

    Otherwise, the Oilers and Tambellini should be applauded for taking the stand they’re now taking with him. It’s a very principled one – it protects the integrity of the organization and the new players they’ve brought in and built their future upon.

    Souray, an Alberta boy through and through, should have realized that what goes around, comes around.

    Sit him until you can trade him or buy him out. Take away the privilege of playing.

    Souray started this little sleighride. Now Tambo’s going to end it.

  • Milli

    My favorite is the 5 motnths is a long time, there excitment now…..Well, what exactly did he anticipate was gonna go down? Did he think they where gonna draft McGrubber with the pick? Come on you cannot slam an organization and then just think some fluff will make it all better. Good stand by Tambo, and a TOTAL OVER RATING OF HIMSELF BY SOURAY. I guess he forgot that this is the new NHL.

  • Ender

    While I agree with some of your comment, there’s one line you might want to reconsider:

    His agent then asks for the notice to be in writing. (Tambalini more than likely doesn’t take that request to be serious in nature or simply disrespects it)

    Why would you think that? Any such request from Souray’s agent would likely be taken very seriously; so seriously, if fact, that the wording would be scrutinized by management, Oilers HR, and team legal. That would take some time. Monday would be the soonest that such a communication could have been provided.

    You don’t seriously think that Souray’s agent would ask for such a document and Tambi would think “Ah, I could pound off an e-mail in a couple of minutes, but I don’t feel like it. The whole thing will likely blow over anyway.” Tambi’s not a chump. He’s doing things by the book, and so far it’s gone about as well as it could have, barring the whoops at the rink yesterday.

  • Maverick

    Just for the record. This is a bad idea to not invite him to camp. We are allready weak on the back end with 3 questionable goalies and one in the slammer. Sheldon Souray although not the same player he was 5 years ago is still the best d-man that we are not inviting to camp.

    Ridiculous!! Tambellini talks about the rebuild and the guy (Souray) has publicly admitted that he wants to be a professional and play out his contract. At the very least does this not increase his trade value? More than not allowing him to play? Come on. Tambellini clearly wants to look like the one in power here but has totally left the best interest of this team in the cold!

    • Mitch

      This is the best player transaction the team has ever made, we’re a proud city, with proud people. This sends a clear message to any player involved in the NHL or otherwise that we are a legit franchise, and city not just a door mat!!

    • Mitch

      This is the best player transaction the team has ever made, we’re a proud city, with proud people. This sends a clear message to any player involved in the NHL or otherwise that we are a legit franchise, and city not just a door mat!!

  • Golden Seals

    I respectfully disagree, hamzinoilcntry…

    “Publicly” admitting that he wants to “be a professional and play out his contract,” is fine and dandy but the public doesn’t get to see the pollution he could potentially bring to the dressing room and the positive environment.

    Simply put, you can’t have a guy like Souray around the kids (and other veterans, for that matter), making smart-ass remarks behind the backs of management and coaches.

    Oh sure – on the ice, he’ll still have the deadly slapper from the point and he’ll bring as much toughness as his brittle-as-a-chandelier shoulders will allow, but it just won’t be worth the tradeoff in pollution of the Oilers ecosystem.

    Souray (and his agent) should have realized that this was going to be one of the scenarios when he decided to speak out in April. Sorry – but I don’t feel sorry for him and I don’t see (much) value in bringing him to camp. And, like I say, it’s not like there haven’t been (Oiler) players in the past who sat out of camp and weren’t trade-able.

    We’re just going to need to be patient.

  • This is simpler than we’re making it:

    Fact: It was in the team’s best interest to hold off as long as possible in case a trade could be made.

    Souray made it clear that neither side needs to deal with the other “respectfully”.

    Tambellini owes Souray nothing. The team should be his main concern, and he proved that.

  • Dan the Man

    I love this quote from Souray:

    Why would I have been a distraction? I’m a professional.

    Really Sheldon?

    Well considering you’ve never ever been a distraction in the past I’d certainly buy that. I mean it’s not like you publicly bashed the organization in the past or anything. So how could you possibly be a distraction?

    Really Sheldon…really?

  • offside

    I think it’s time the Oilers retire #44. Maybe hang Niinima’s jersey up right beside Gretzky’s just so no one ever wears the number again in Edmonton…….

  • Velo

    Perhaps Souray did the fans and the organization a big favor by calling out the crappy communication between suits and jerseys. He had no beef with the city and no beef with teammates. Now all of a sudden all the rookies are getting the rock-star treatment. I realize Souray was pissed, and a bit selfish, but his comments were not about him wanting more, or out, for that matter. He, and all the players, are multi-million dollar assets and they need to be treated fairly and respectfully. The new players will reap the benefits of his rant, and, hopefully, management will learn how to manage its’ assets…especially given the assets they have. There is a long list of players with “concerns” regarding their departure from E-town, and I for one and happy someone blew the whistle on this sort of crap. Let’s hope the new Oilers are treated with professionalism and that Souray is able to find a new team and, in some twist of fate, runs Iggy and makes the universe right.

    Just my $0.02

    • Deep Oil

      Oilers should be thankful for the wakeup call the Souray gave them this spring. Trainers were fired, Coach resigned according to Tambellini, only to blow up (brownlee credit) when it was determined it was an involuntary demotion.

      Souray’s agent stated that Souray IS NOT ALLOWED to attend camp, (Oilers email), while the Oilers announce he is being asked not to attend. Paul Theofanous is also displeased in regards to the lack of communciation the Oilers displayed, having to formally request this non invitation in writing, Tambellini playing games again, if it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen Steve.

      Oilers could of taken this opportunity to welcome Souray back, based on the changes they made, with Sheldon taking some guilt along the way. Now, they have to deal with a $10mm spanking in OK CITY, with no cap hit, or 50% off, but having having 10.8 million cap hit over 4 years for nothing.

      Kids – Monetization

      I have issues with the kids being pandered at the one bedroom bungalow with a jail for a dining room, when the lottery in the past competed with Caritas and only raised $400k with internal purchases saving their license. Just wondering why the wine room had empty bottles and a set of stairs that climbed to nowhere. Note to the winner, take the money.

      Giving the kids numbers for a media photo op, then taking them away in BC, is definitely a way to keep them hungry, or show a lack of integrity.

      This organization has problems, a convicted goalie, a debacle contract (#10) for the next 5 years, and financial losses when not making the playoffs with no long term rink plan.

      The best actions the Oilers could achieve is two more years of lottery picks, follow the PITT, CHI models, do not stop short. Season tickets would not be affected with a waiting list.

      Play the kids, enjoy their mistakes, you are only young once – don’t blink according to some country singers.

    • How many of these incidents have happened where the player hashed it out with management in private and they managed to ship him out of town effectively for both sides?

      Answer: We’ll never know because the parties involved were professional enough to keep it in private.

      Part of being a “multi-million dollar asset” is this level of professionalism. It doesn’t sound like guys like Pisani or Comrie or Moreau had anything bad to say when they left.

  • db7db7db7

    My dad always said if we assume we make asses out of each other. I know it’s fun, but we don’t know sh!t about what is actually going on. I am not going to lay blame until I know for sure who’s at fault. Which may be never!!!!!

  • db7db7db7

    Souray exploits the Pronger anti-Edmonton situation wrt free agents, gets his big payday and gets to move west closer to his children in 2007, with no intention of stayiing IMO.

    Asks for a trade after year 2 ( after a real good year for him…hmmm.)

    Plays like garbage after concussion (not all concussion related IMO).

    Breaks hand in a stupid fight approaching trade deadline, can’t get traded as a result, gets pissed off because now HE NO LONGER HAS CONTROL OVER WHERE HE PLAYS NEXT. Spouts off publicly, declares war on management, both sides dig in heels and here we are.

    Just my thoughts. Good riddance 44.

  • Dan the Man

    Speaking of Pronger…did anyone here Kelly Chase on the Team this morning talking about the Souray thing?

    He was comparing this situation to the Pronger situation and he said that Pronger had an agreement with Lowe when he got here to re-evalute whether or not he wanted to stay in Edmonton after the first year of his contract.

    I’d never heard that before and I find that interesting if it is in fact the case.

    • Gilmore Tuttle

      If Kelly has the same credibility as his radio “host” brother, then I wouldn’t bet the homestead on it. That said, didn’t Lowe try to reneg on the bonus clause in the Comrie contract back in the day?

  • Deep Oil

    I know this town likes to demonize people and get all bad ass and self righteous…I mean who doesn’t, really?

    But this organization was rotten. Maybe we all decided to develop short memories or something but the Oilers were pretty poorly run and that has improved *marginally* over the past 5 months.

    Interesting that there is such an about face ever since Souray blasted the poor communication and questionable demands of the organization.

    But I guess he’s a demon so lets run him out of town.

    Just remember somewhere down the line that by taking the PR bullet he shed some light on what we all knew anyway: this club was Mickey Mouse.

    There’s an hilarious quote somewhere up above where someone said that he played worse after his concussion but they doubted it had anything *to do* with his concussion.


    Ever had a concussion? If it’s a good one you lose your balance, your thinking gets messed and your coordination is shot. Heck, you even say sh*t you might not normally say.

    It’s a weird experience and the effects can linger for months. Years, if you’re unlucky.


    So long, Souray. No matter what, you’re done here. And given your age and injury history, you may be done period. And all things being equal, no GM is going to rush to get you on their team.

    Being a team player means shutting up and accepting everything no matter how rotten.

    But thanks for making our club more accountable.

  • Mitch

    I don’t think there has ever been a lack of communication, look at the socitey we live in today, just complete B.S. Souray expressed he doesn’t want to be here, Tambellini confirmed that Sheldon has expressed his disire to be moved. Sheldon in expressing his desire to be moved trys his damdist to throw the organization under the bus. It wouldn’t matter what your profession is when you display this displeasure, would you expect a differnt result?

  • Ender

    db7db7db7 wrote:

    Why is Souray’s salary still counting against the cap (per CapGeek) since he’s been waived? Does it count against the cap until he is reassigned?

    Yes. It stays on the team’s cap hit until such time as he is officially assigned elsewhere. Which in this case may be never, or at least not this season. We’ll have to wait and see whether Tambi thinks there may be a trade lurking in the woods or not. If he thinks a trade is impossible, assignment to the AHL is a possibility. Once Souray is there, though, he’d become untradeable and the team would have to explore other options to get out of his contract.

    @ Everyone who is thanking Souray for being a source of Truth and Light

    If you dig deep enough, you can find mud to throw in any organization, hockey-related or not. Make no mistake, Sheldon Souray made the comments he made when he made them because it suited Sheldon Souray to say them at that time. He was motivated because it served #1, not out of altruistic designs to improve conditions for future Edmonton Oilers. If you honestly think that the Edmonton Oilers run their operation significantly below the acceptable standard that you would find in every other hockey franchise in North America based on the remarks of a disgruntled player whose no-trade clause was running out, well, I’m guessing your mind was made up long before Souray ever said one word.

  • Blue Blooded

    To all of you arguing that the OIlers should play Souray to start the year, hear this: Apart from playing well to gain the interest of another teams, what would be most important for Souray??? Any guesses? … Well my “guess” would be not getting injured. What does this tell us about his potential for this season? We’d see a lot of Souray not going hard to the corners where he can get hit, or not skating hard for pucks behind the net. We’d see shabby defense on his part. I also doubt he’d fully be protecting his teammates… [email protected] already busted his wrist trying to get revenge on Iggy last year. If you’re one of the rookies, how would you feel watching a guy only looking after his own butt while you’re trying to win games. And that’s just on the ice, nevermind what the &*%* would be happening in the dressing room and away from the rink. Nope, not on our team. Screw you Souray, I’d love to see you traded, and if not, you can play as any team at home on NHL 11.

  • Ender

    Heh heh.

    All this man emotion reminds me of the guy in Anchorman who starts crying after Ron Burgundy says “Go F*ck yourself, San Diego.”

    here’s the clip:

  • ubermiguel

    Look to all the Souray basher on this forum I am not saying that he doesn’t deserve to be an oiler and his actions were hurtful to the organization. They were, and his actions were hurtful to the team. But two sit there and tell me that not having Sheldon Souray in the dressing room is going to be “way better for the kids” is retarded. What do you think he is going to do to them? Atomic wedgies in the shower? Indian burns on the arms? Noogies? If anything I think they would relish in playing against a higher caliber defenseman in training camp. So maybe wehn those three precious kids take there first road trip to Philly and CMFP plants them up against the boards or catches Taylor Hall crusiing through the middle looking for a pass they will be ready and exposed. It’s great for a young core to grow up together and mature as a team but the only way you get better at anything is to play agianst people who are vetter than you. Souray has some experience folks. Teh man learned the game beside some good hockey players when he was young, eg Scott Stevens. Let’s look at the big picture guys and move past the negative comments or the need to defend Steve Tambellini’s honour. Sheldon Souray makes this team better bottom line. Attitudes and press comments aside he makes the team tougher on D. That should be the most important thing we look at. For the record I am not a huge Sheldon Souray fan, I believe that he is a better option than lettting him walk somewhere else, especially in the west could come back to haunt us (and pay half his salary)

    • I don’t think anyone on this thread would disagree that we could use a good veteran D on our team, or that any veteran presence for the kids isn’t important.

      Why would it have to be Souray?

      Sorry – the “we have him and nobody else wants him and he just became a “professional” this week” argument doesn’t fly.

  • ubermiguel

    Souray reminds me of that guy that every workplace seems to have; they just like to bitch and complain about how lousy it is to work there. Funny thing is, usually there are 10 other people that think it’s an ok place to work.

  • Mitch

    I don’t think anyone on this thread would disagree that we could use a good veteran D on our team, or that any veteran presence for the kids isn’t important.

    Why would it have to be Souray?

    Sorry – the “we have him and nobody else wants him and he just became a “professional” this week” argument doesn’t fly.

    I totally agree that it sure doesn’t have to be Sheldon Souray. I can think of ten or twenty other d men out there that would be great mentor etc. All I am saying is that we have him. He’s got two years left on a hefty contract. We are paying him. He needs to get out there and increase his trade value by playing so that a deal can be made for him and for the club. It just seems like a waste to suit him to teach him a lesson. What lesson? That if you camplain you get to take your ball and go home and still earn your contract?

  • Ender

    hamzinoilcntry wrote:

    It just seems like a waste to suit him to teach him a lesson. What lesson? That if you camplain you get to take your ball and go home and still earn your contract?

    Well, that and that if you publically throw the management of your team under the bus to try and serve your own selfish interests, especially if you are viewed as overpaid by the other 29 teams in the league, that you might have your work cut out for you trying to play in the NHL again.

    I like the second lesson better.