SHELDON SOURAY: NOT DONE YET

Healthy and happy again, Sheldon Souray resisted the urge to dish any dirt when reporters gathered around this morning looking for some juicy quotes about his unhappy time with the Edmonton Oilers. Souray took the high road, and it looked good on him.

Written off as a spent force and a malcontent has-been by a lot of people, including me, after speaking his mind got him banished to the AHL on loan by the Oilers last season, Souray has SIUTBOHC through the 19 games he’s played with the Dallas Stars.

In that sense, he’s been every bit of an unlikely feel-good a story for the Stars as Nikolai Khabibulin, who was supposed to be finished, done and over with as an NHL goaltender, has been for the Oilers.

With 4-9-13 for the Stars, Souray has been an anchor on the Dallas defence. He’s been scoring at a rate we haven’t seen since 2008-09, when he had 53 points with the Oilers before injuries sent his career sideways and his public disdain for the way he was handled by GM Steve Tambellini landed him on the outs in Edmonton.

At 35, Souray is playing the brand of hockey for the Stars that fans in Edmonton didn’t get enough of as injuries limited him to seasons of 26, 81 and 37 games on a big ticket with the Oilers.

He’s obviously not done yet.

SPEAKS HIS MIND

As Jason Gregor suggested in his GDB, Souray’s source of discontent in Edmonton was with Tambellini and team management in concert with the frustrations brought on by injuries and the Oilers inability to compete. He had a lousy time on a lousy team.

That said, I never once heard Souray trash the city or fans of the team. I never heard anybody once say Souray was a bad teammate. An unhappy one? Yes. There’s a difference.

Despite good intentions on both sides, Souray never got settled in here and it went wrong from the get-go. Feeling he was rushed back from a shoulder injury after signing with the Oilers and missing 56 games in 2007-08, things started to slide between Souray and Tambellini pretty quickly, despite those 53 points in his only healthy season.

When Souray sounded off at the end of the 2009-10 season, he was finished as an Oiler, big ticket or not. Rather than have him around last season, Tambellini loaned him to Hershey of the AHL while owner Daryl Katz kept signing his cheques.

I applauded Tambellini more than once for sticking by his guns — keeping Souray away from a dressing room full of young players and eliminating any chance his unhappiness would poison the well after his public bowel movement on the organization. On principle, I still do.

MOVING ON

Souray was made available to any team that wanted him through trade and waivers at a cut rate, but nobody bit. He never did stay healthy long enough to attract much interest. The New York Rangers took at look-see in Hershey but eventually passed. He finished last season with 4-15-19 in 40 games with the Bears. He looked done. I thought he was.

Obviously not. Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk thought different and took a chance on him, signing Souray to a one-year deal at $1.65. So far, he’s looked like money in the bank — big and nasty as always and unloading that wicked shot from the point. The kind of defenseman the Oilers could use right about now, no? Classic SIUTBOHC.

So, when reporters leaned in today looking for some notepad-filling commentary, Souray could have been excused for unloading another movement on Tambellini and on those who deemed him done.

"We’re just focusing here for tonight. It’s a big game for us here," said Souray. "We’re needing the points. We’re in a little bit of a tailspin here, so it’s just a bit of focusing and getting ready for tonight’s game.

"Edmonton wasn’t the first team I played for and it’s been a couple years since I played there, so it’s really just another game for us. It’s been awhile since I was an Oiler, so I’m really just trying to focus on tonight and what we have to do here."

Healthy. Happy. He’s moved on.

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

    • Seriously, I’m not going to start from square one for those who haven’t been following along.

      We ghost ride whips here. We have the GDB, the OGDP and the NSOGDP. We have SIUTBOHC. We have RX1 and on and on. Perhaps we should produce an Oilersnation For Dummies handbook.

      • I’d buy one for stocking stuffer for my wife. She sometimes looks over my shoulder and wonders what I am reading.

        We need T-shirts with that on it also. Is Kent ever going to get some Nation swag made. I’d like a sweater or something with the Nations logo on it.

        Crosby 1G and 2 A is just sick.

      • Hemmertime

        I’d buy it. I’ve been around these parts for a few years, never miss an article (if I do, I check the previous days, but thanks to smartphones and bathroom breaks have all the time I need!) but even I had no idea what SIUTBOHC was… google didn’t answer, thank god the comments did or I wouldn’t get any sleep tonight.

        But seriously, I’d buy it, write it.

      • Wax Man Riley

        I like this idea.

        Big Sexy, The Human Rake, The Human Crane, Fists, and Epic Sax Guy. It may take a manual for newbies here.

        Or maybe forget the manual. Throw the rookies into the deep end and see if they can swim.

        I think wtf at the top there just got sent down to the minors.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          And here I thought I was savvy to all the ON goodies…

          what are these things:

          Big Sexy, The Human Rake, The Human Crane

          I haven’t seen them around here and I’m around quite a bit.

          PS. This site is like a split personality: one side all ghost-riding and Wanyefied; the other all statsy McWillised… It would be great to have a handbook for each. One filled with explanations of acronyms, lists, squees and other silly bits; the other with clear definitions of corsi, contract clauses and other serious bits of hockeydom

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            I dont know if you are being sarcastic but… these three are nicknames for the three following (you can figure out who is who): Chara, Pronger, Souray(or Kevin Nash…BIG DADDY COOL DIESEL!!! WOLFPAC FOR LIFE TOO SWEEEET!!!!) but i digress…..

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Genuine question. thanks for the answer.

            umm unless i’m asking for scorn, in which case scorn away… a brief follow-up… is there some rationale for the names? granted i’m not thinking about it very hard, i’m sure it’s there somewhere… but i’m lazy… just tell me.

            thanks in advance… again genuine inquiry.

  • oilredemption

    well i am also curious about this inside joke you speak of. I always see it in articles but can never break it down. Please help i wish to be cool and be part of the group so, can i find out what SIUTBOHC means?

    • Shoved It Up The Backside Of His Critics.

      In Souray’s case, well done.

      I guess the unwritten rule of pro sports is that you get paid ridiculous amounts, in part, to be a good corporate soldier. When the odd guy like Souray breaks that rule, all hell breaks loose. Team owners and managers don’t like to be second-guessed or criticized by the people they effectively “own”. It’s not that hugely different in everyday business.

      How far would any of us get publicly burning the people we work for. Not very.

      Souray didn’t want to give this interview and I’m a bit dismayed that the media forced his hand. Sure there might be a story, but I wonder if this was going a bit too far. Good on Souray for keeping to the high road when forced to do something he clearly wanted to avoid.

      • Sheldon was very accommodating with the media, especially the senior guys he knew well, his first couple of years here.

        He’s a good quote and nobody toting a notepad should be upset that he unloaded on Tambellini after the season. It’s what we do. The team’s perspective, however, is something completely different and that’s where it broke down.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If only Tambellini had acted like a professional/or in the best interests of the Edmonton Oilers hockey club 18 months ago. It must’ve been an embarassment for all involved, and should remain a black mark on Tambellinis resume for the rest of his days as a GM in this league.

    Management not accepting some responsibilty on this issue probably has alot to do with back to back last place finishes. It certainly revealed some limitations/lack of capabilities as far as Steve’s concerned.

  • smiliegirl15

    I’m glad to see Sheldon back and doing well. I honestly don’t think Tambellini is an asset to the Oilers. He’s done okay but I’m still not convinced.

    @D – I think as long as Management is the same as when Souray was here before, there would be sour grapes somewhere. He would certainly help our blue line and, while I don’t think he would take his malcontent out on the ice to the detriment of his team, his feelings about management would not be good for the team. The current outcome is the best for all parties although we still have a thin blue line.

    \/\/\/\/ wtf – it’s been referenced here many times in several articles.

      • D

        @RB and @smiliegirl15 – very true and I agree. The history between Tambellini and Souray cannot be ignored. Still, it’s really tempting to think where this team might be if Souray was happy and the blueline had him and Whitney (healthy of course) in play.