Making it up: one year later

CONFIRMATION

Steve Tambellini, April 14, 2010

"It’s been no secret that Sheldon wants out of Edmonton.

"I’ve had numerous meetings with him over the last year, I would say, mostly all revolving around the fact he wants to be traded.

"Sheldon asked us for a trade, it would be about a year ago. I believe it was last spring the first time I heard that from him."

DENIAL II

— Edmonton Journal, April 24, 2009

"Sheldon Souray doesn’t know how or where the story started that he wanted out of Edmonton, but it’s got the legs of Andrew Cogliano.

Souray, who has one of the NHL’s most wicked slappers, shot it down Thursday before speaking to a team of local novice hockey players who won a dinner and Q & A with the Oilers defenseman in Scotiabank’s national initiative to salute the kids.

"I’ve been getting phone calls from here … my mum called me to ask about it. Who knows where it’s coming from?" said Souray, who has three years left on his Oilers contract and says he’s had no conversations with general manager Steve Tambellini.

Souray’s children live in Los Angeles with their mother, which might have fuelled the trade-me speculation, but when he signed here in 2007, he said he was over the moon to be coming home to play for the team he idolized as a kid.

"Our stalls aren’t even cold yet," he said. "I’m not worrying about it (the rumour). I don’t think it deserves talking about. It doesn’t deserve a no or deserve a yes. It’s fodder for the media.

"If it was something I was feeling, I wouldn’t voice it through the media anyway." Souray, who represented the Oilers in the all-star game and finished with 23 goals and 53 points, has been through coach firings before in Montreal. It always stings. There’s always questions in a hockey city, because people care 

"For some guys, it affects them differently but, for me, I’ve been down this road. The grass isn’t always greener. Sometimes a change can be positive. We’ll see how it works out." Souray only had MacTavish for two years. He got along well with him. Was he a players’ coach? "I’m not really sure. I wasn’t here long enough to make that assessment, but he was always fair with me. Some players would say he was a players’ coach, some of them might say he’s a non-communicator," said Souray. 

DENIAL

— Tambellini, April 15, 2009

"No," said Tambellini, when asked if any Oilers players had requested a trade.

CAN’T LOCK IT DOWN

Brownlee, Oilersnation, April 15, 2009

"Like I said earlier, this is a rumour and nothing more at this point. To discount it completely would be foolish, but it’s also premature to take it as fact and start working out trade possibilities. The rumour, and the fact Souray has been separated from his kids, plus the fact he didn’t talk to the media Monday are all bits and pieces. Do they add up to him requesting a trade? Maybe. Maybe not. All we can do is ask Tambellini if the request has been made.

"If I had it firm from Souray or anybody else, I wouldn’t be burying the item at the bottom of the story. It would be the story."

THE ORIGINAL ITEM

Brownlee, Oilersnation, April 14, 2009

"Perhaps one of the reasons Souray didn’t make himself available to reporters Monday is he didn’t want to address speculation that he’s asked Tambellini for a trade.

"Rumours Souray has asked to be dealt began several weeks ago and they’ve persisted since. To this point, neither Souray or anybody in the Oilers front office has gone on the record to put the talk to rest. Until that happens, and there’s a flat-out denial from one of the parties, this has legs. Stay tuned."

UPDATE: THE INSIDE TRACK

I’ve been meaning to slip in an item about some of the reporters and media outlets who cover the Oilers for awhile now, so I’ll add it to this one, given the topic. With the proliferation of websites and the many existing MSM outlets where information and opinion is available on the Oilers, there’s a lot to choose from.

For what it’s worth, here’s my list of places to look if you really want to know what’s going on with the team, if you want real insight or if you just like great writing or commentary.

THE MSM

— Bob Stauffer, 630 CHED and Oilers Lunch on TEAM 1260. The most connected guy in the city here and now, and it’s not even close. Those buying the popular stance he’s gone soft since leaving his popular afternoon drive-time show to work for the Oilers really aren’t paying attention. Way ahead of the pack, always.

— Dan Barnes, Edmonton Journal. I feared getting beat by him when I first signed on to cover the Oilers and I still wake up every morning expecting he’ll write about something I don’t know. He often does.

— Jason Gregor, TEAM 1260. Don’t let the fact Gregor lets me co-host his show twice a week dupe you into thinking he’s not that sharp. He is. Lots of contacts.

— Jim Matheson. When Matty poses a question in The Journal, he usually already knows the answer.  There isn’t a coach, GM, scout or player in the league who won’t step aside from the scrum and spend time huddled with Matty. He can sit on stuff for weeks and still beat other people to the punch.

THE BLOG WORLD

— Lowetide. Great insight. Common sense. If you want takes and projections based on numbers as well as real-world perspective, Mitchell is the guy.

— Black Dog Hates Skunks. Wind your way through the boozing, broads and Family Guy stuff, which is all wonderfully written, and there’s a lot of meat on this website.

— David Staples, Cult of Hockey (The Journal). Staples is a damn good news reporter and writer who also happens to be a fan of the Oilers. That’s an interesting mix. His love of goofy nicknames and his diddling with real statistics aside, Staples has been bookmarked on my laptop for a long time.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.