REINSTATING SHELDON SOURAY

Steve Tambellini stood his ground with Sheldon Souray. He made his point. Now, before the Edmonton Oilers GM buys out Souray, he should put a call into him. If Tambellini hears the right things from Souray in that conversation, he should consider inviting him to training camp.

As anybody who has followed the ongoing Souray saga at Oilersnation since rumblings the big defenceman wanted out of Edmonton surfaced, that statement marks a considerable shift in position. Some might say a flip-flop, although I don’t see it that way

I didn’t want Souray anywhere near a room full of young prospects like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi at camp last September after he went public with his discontent at the end of the 2009-10 season. I applauded when Tambellini told him not to bother showing up at training camp and later loaned him to the AHL.

Had Tambellini wavered then after being publicly shown up by Souray, it’s my belief he’d have been gutted as GM. Paying Souray his full NHL salary to play in the minors, even on loan to another organization with the Hershey Bears, was better than having him in the room, even if it did little to make the most of the player as an asset.

Having made his point, the responsible thing for Tambellini to do in terms of what’s best for the team paying his salary, is to consider bringing Souray back to the fold — with conditions, of course.

WANTS AND NEEDS

\

Tambellini most certainly needs NHL defensemen and I think Souray still qualifies as one of those, even if he’s obviously overpaid, getting long in the tooth and is breaking down.

Rather than pay Souray to go away via buy-out during the window to do so in the next couple of weeks, Tambellini should see if there’s a chance to mend fences. That’s not my idea, by the way. I got to thinking about it after a thought-evoking e-mail to TEAM 1260 by a fan this morning. The more I thought, the more it made sense. With caveats.

If playing in the minors for an entire season without having a single NHL team show any real interest in him — the New York Rangers took a look but quickly said, "No thanks" — hasn’t humbled Souray and convinced him to simply shut up and play, then nothing will.

While I don’t expect Souray to make a public apology for his criticism of the organization on getaway day at the end of the 2009-10 season, I would expect him to do it privately with Tambellini. I’d also expect him to pledge to provide veteran leadership to roster laden with youth. No bitching, no moaning. None of what got Souray gone in the first place.

If Souray does that, what legitimate reason, pride notwithstanding, would Tambellini have not to listen?

WORTH A TRY

Souray most certainly wants another NHL contract and this season is his best — and last — chance to earn one. Tambellini, as everybody knows, does not have a surplus of NHL defensemen.

If Souray toes the company line and stays healthy, maybe he gets that new deal he wants. If he does, Tambellini gets the benefit of Souray’s skills, diminishing or not, and maybe gets something for Souray at the trade deadline. Not much, but something.

Souray has been force-fed a heaping helping of humble pie. If he’s digested it and is willing to come back ready to play instead of to piss and moan about just about everything, as he used to, then it seems to me like it’s worth a shot.

Tambellini won’t know if that’s a possibility until he at least picks up the telephone and sees if there’s some mutually satisfactory business to be done. As GM of this team, that’s a call he has to make.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • paul wodehouse

    peace be with you Q… 44’s such an idiot he’d hurt himself doing the moonwalk…you like him to come back yes? for some of the same lame reasons as our fellow Nation citizenry?… or are you going down that tried and true path of ‘unrealistic’ ‘never gonna happen”parting ways’ mind bender…say, if he said he’d be good and come back…would you want him to wear your Q makeup’ during his public fellating of our GM…?

    @hamzinoilcntry…the worst thing that can happen is…the nightmare that is him EVER coming back

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Personally i don’t care much for Souray, we’ve seen what he has to offer during that fateful 2009-2010 season. I just don’t feel there was any benifit to the Edmonton Oilers to get involved in a public situation like this. Edmonton has enough of its own challenges without adding another self induced one. Just feel it sends a poor message league wide that this team may not be there to support you 100% when a speedbump like this comes along. We’ll be fine without Souray, but how the Oilers responded to him may have done irreversible harm.

  • paul wodehouse

    yes…there are huge costs all around connected to loyalty…it’s lose lose sitch…ugly at best, but i’m not convinced that this was ever our GM “standing his ground” as i’ve read recently…i’m of the opinion that it was Kevin who actually did all the freaking out and he’s the one that actually pulled the trigger, with DK’s blessing, to bury Souray in the AHL abyss…it’s Kevin who was most insulted by what ‘the player’ went with so publicly…remember Q, our GM was never ” AnOiler”, a bleeding copper&blue Oiler like Kevin so he’s doing the bidding of Kevin Lowe who i’m sure wanted to rip ‘the players” nuts off when he did his damage.

    the franchise will survive without him, it just takes time…and the willingness of most to accept the fact that he’s just a memory after he gets his money and goes away…

  • Mitch

    @Brownlee

    Yesterday at Tambi’s presser he made it clear that they need many elite players. So correct me if I’m wrong we are going to continue to build through the draft because this is the most effective way in Edmonton to acquire these sorts of players. Trades yes they are completely possible, but unlikely because there is so many good young prospects and they don’t know thier potential and there willing to let them learn the game in OKC or junior/college and he wants the prospects to force them to trade the roster player. Ryan Smyth will become a Oiler once again, Sheldon can go to hell.
    I want Steve to follow through with his plans of developing through the draft build this team of young guys that will grow together, most importantly feel like brothers. As the saying goes blood is thicker than water.

  • dean

    I also agree if they can deal with their issues, behind the scenes and let by gones be by gones I’d take a step back and seriously consider it.
    Souray has always been a a tough guy to lay against even though his skills are dimishing. I’m sure his shot for the point would be a key in our powerplay and with himout there it will free up the guys like Hall and Eberle down low on the pp.
    He seems like he has always backed up his team mates and stood up for them at all times. I’m sure our goalies appreciate him cleaning the front of the crease when guys are standing in front of them. I’ve seen Gilbert eat multiple shots to the face with a grin on his face the whole time and not being able to retaliate because he’s scared.
    The guy plays on the edge even though he may be slowing down. If he wants a 2nd chance why not at least look into it? I can’t see him being a burden to the kids as he’s always been a team player throughout his career…