Sheldon Souray obviously isn’t of the mind to just shut up and play (or sit out with a broken hand), and that’s his right, even if there are times when speaking his mind isn’t very smart.
Souray, who talked his way out of the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers by calling out team management at the end of last season because he was frustrated his trade demands hadn’t been met, has taken to flapping his gums again, this time to Tim Leone of the Patriot-News.
After busting his right hand — the same fragile paw that broke in an ill-advised fight with Jarome Iginla last season and ended any hope the Oilers could trade him — on the jar of minor league ruffian Matt Clackson of Adirondack a week ago, Souray got to talking again.
Having bitched himself out of training camp with the Oilers and on loan to the Hershey Bears, Souray couldn’t help himself when asked how he felt about criticism back in Edmonton that he’d tested his glass mitt against Clackson, sustaining an injury that won’t help move him along.
His days as an Oiler obviously done, but with those big pay cheques from Daryl Katz still coming, Souray didn’t hold back. What a surprise.
WHAT HE SAID
Here’s an excerpt, with quotes, from Leone’s piece in the Patriot News.
"I’m used to the criticism,” Souray said. "You can’t please everyone once people get an opinion. I think Edmonton’s done a pretty good job, the organization’s done a good job, of trying to form an opinion of my character and my personality.
"Once people jump on that and make an assumption for themselves, it’s hard to do anything right. We’ve seen it before. Not just my situation. Players, they get a certain reputation and no matter what they do it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough."
Souray, who sustained compression fractures in the hand and should be out just weeks rather than months, kept it coming.
"Seven or eight months ago, when they were thinking I was one of the most important parts of the (Edmonton) team, to three or four months ago, after I had called the organization out on a couple of things, it’s led me to here," Souray said. "You’re exactly right. It’s one of those situations where, I think, now you’ve just got to go kill them with success.
"If you come down here and you act like you’re not committed or you act like you shouldn’t be here, that’s going to show on the ice. That’s one thing I wanted to come here and make sure these guys knew is that I’m in it with them. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all here to try to make the NHL. I didn’t want anything less to show on the ice."
So, Edmonton’s done a good job of smearing Souray’s good name and his impeccable character? I thought Souray accomplished that largely on his own when frustration got the better of him last spring.
And, "Kill them with success?" Like the Oilers wouldn’t like to see Souray healthy and productive in Hershey so they could get more than a box of tape, anything, for him in a trade and turn this page? Yes, what a killer that turn of events would be.
Apparently, Souray is so bitter over the predicament he helped orchestrate that he can’t help but make a bad situation worse by coming off as a self-serving whiner.
Not that it matters where the Oilers or GM Steve Tambellini are concerned because he’s napalmed that bridge into smouldering ashes, but he’s doing nothing but diminishing his already marginal trade value with his me-first narrative.
Souray, even at age 34 and broken down as he is on the downside of his career, is still an effective player when healthy. Big shot. Tough as hell. Physical. He’s a player who eventually might be the right fit for the right team, even with his bloated contract.
But, like his dubious claim to reporters in Edmonton about wanting to come to training camp — days after Souray and his agent had been told he would not be welcome — this latest rendition of Poor, Pitiful Me isn’t going to cause GMs who might be contemplating taking a chance on him to lean his way. More bitterness won’t get him out from under the thumb of an organization he clearly has no respect for.
He just doesn’t get it.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.