ROOKIE BATTLE OF ALBERTA AND SO LONG SOURAY

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.

Hamilton/Vande Velde/Livingston
Cornet/Matrtindale/Thomas
Czerwonka/Pitlick/Pelss
Hartikainen/Schaber/Abney

Schlumpf/Plante
Davidson/Marincin
Bendfeld/Toigo

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.

TILLMAN IN

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.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Tillman is a great football mind and a good man who made a mistake. He got pilled up one night and made an inapropriate gesture / assgrab towards a young lady. He got what he deserved and it is time to move on. I was sad to see him leave the Riders and I am sadder to see him become an Eskimo. He is one of the top GMs in pro football and I wish the Riders would of kept him.

    Now can we keep the Eskimo talk at “Eskimo nation” where it belongs.

    Go Riders!!!

  • Jason Gregor

    I wish we could say “so long Souray” but alas he is still under contract with the Oil so in reality he hasn’t gone anywhere and with what Tambo did, Souray could be an Oiler a long time. I would’ve bitten my pride and allowed Souray into camp if there were assurances of no disruptive behavior. As far as Tillman, let those that are without blemishes cast the first stone.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Gregor – how can you infer that the Girl has forgiven Tillman when there is no record of that, and the Reporter from Sask you had on said that she did not do a victim impact statement or reach out to Tillman?

    • Jason Gregor

      She (female reporter) said you can “infer” they did forgive him since they expressed he shouldn’t lose his job and they didn’t think a “no-contact” agreement was necessary.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        thanks for that but in my defense I only went off of Gregor’s show yesterday and what the Reporter said who actually attended all the hearings and knew the ins and outs of the situation. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t hear her say that Tillman was forgiven from the girl and the family. She said that they wanted to move on. I didn’t hear the word forgiven..

        Maybe Gregor can correct me?

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          They mentioned it on the show yesterday that he has done his legal part and that the girl and her family have forgiven him. I listened from about 4-4:45.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    In your mind barring re-entry waivers or a trade, do you see the ban being a long-term solution or is it just a short-term to give Souray time to make up with the team?

    As for Tillman if the girl and the family can forgive then why can’t fans? Heck if this team ends up making the playoffs most will be forgot.

    • Jason Gregor

      I was told today it seems very doubtful they can kiss and make up. They are going to wait to find a trading partner. The Oilers are expecting they will need to take back a bad contract/bad player in return.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        So who exactly is the issue? If it’s not the majority of the players, is there really a problem having Souray play on a short leash? You say he wasn’t a positive influence, but was he a negative influence?

        I understand the whole making a point thing, but if it’s really just a Tambo-Souray thing then this is really just a cock measuring competition with no winner.

        There has to be some sort of deal on the table sitting on the back burner, otherwise this is a very bold move.

  • I give Tambo credit for having the balls to ban Souray from training camp. He could have swallowed his pride and looked like a pansy, but he didn’t. You have to admit, he didn’t take crap this summer, and I applaud him for it.

    • Jason Gregor

      That is a good question. Depends who you talk to. Not all players get along, which is fine. Last year I don’t think Souray was a positive influence all the time. He wasn’t happy, and he didn’t always hide it, which is understandable.

      I will say that players never questioned his work ethic on the ice.