The Players’ Tribune is fast becoming one of the must-read sites for hockey fans. The latest article of interest, particularly to followers of the Edmonton Oilers, is Sheldon Souray’s The Wannabe.

Written to coincide with his last day on an NHL roster, Souray, who hasn’t played since the 2012-13 season because of surgery on his wrist and ongoing complications in recovery, made mention of his time in Edmonton.

It’s a tenure that started badly in 2007-08, when Souray claims he was rushed back from shoulder surgery after signing a big deal with the Oilers, and ended badly, with him being buried in the minors by general manager Steve Tambellini after publicly criticizing management. Souray mentions none of that in the passage relating to Edmonton. He writes:

“The people of Edmonton: Thanks for treating me so well even when things got ugly with management. All I ever wanted to do since I was a little boy was play for the Oilers. I wish it turned out better in the end, but you always made me feel at home.” Give the whole item a read. You can find it here.

Souray, who’ll go into the books with 758 NHL games and stops in New Jersey, Montreal, Edmonton, Dallas and Anaheim on his resume, takes the high road and avoids falling into the muck surrounding his last days here. For me, it’s just another reminder of just how bad things were in Edmonton during the Tambellini regime that Souray spoke out in the first place.



Without re-hashing everything written about Souray’s time in Edmonton – you can find some of the items I wrote about the situation here, here and here – it’s fair to say I was all over the place on him, his banishment to Hershey of the AHL and how his final days as an Oiler unfolded.

My common thread was that Souray had contributed to his own demise by sounding off publicly in frustration, be it about being hurried back from off-season shoulder surgery or, mostly, that Tambellini did nothing to meet his request to be traded when things went sour here. I still feel that way – that going public with grievances usually ends badly — but time, as it often does, and reflection blurs the lines on what seemed black and white for me.

What we learned after Souray went public with his trade request is that he didn’t share the situation until more than a year had passed since he asked Tambellini to move him. I, like other reporters, had gleaned bits and pieces about the request during that time but it was always off-the-record stuff, much of which Souray denied, until he went off about it.

My understanding is Tambellini had a trade on the table with Philadelphia that would have sent Souray to the Flyers for Scott Hartnell, but that came undone because Tambellini either upped the ask or tried to change the deal. Souray went public and it got ugly. He was told not to attend training camp. He was sent to Hershey. In the end, Tambellini ended up getting nothing, zippo, for Souray. What a sad chapter in the franchise books.

Enjoy retirement, Sheldon.



  • With all the discussion about whether Peter Chiarelli will/should try to make a pitch for Brent Seabrook, who has one more year remaining on his deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, I can’t help thinking about the $9 million the Oilers have on the books between Nikita Nikitin and Teddy Purcell. It would be an overpayment, but I’d go as high as $9 million per season on Seabrook, but only on a five-year deal.
  • I chatted with former Oiler goaltender Jeff Deslauriers at a golf tournament last week. Deslauriers, 31, lives in St. Albert. Deslauriers has been a hockey nomad since his days as an Oiler, making stops in Anaheim, Syracuse, Norfolk, Fort Wayne, Houston, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Riga Dynamo of the KHL. Deslauriers will play in Germany this season.

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

  • Darkmanic

    I’m actually kind of surprised that people remember Tambi.. MacT takes all kinds of crap on here and he was a good coach then a good scout who when made GM went out and tried to get the most draft picks while losing none of our core players and the only one to say thanks was the GM who replaced him. Does anyone remember that MacT was only a GM for 1 draft? How many people could take the mess Tambo left and bring in players like Fayne or Gordon? Yes under MacT’s supervision the Oilers finished 3rd last both times but look who we got for it. Sorry for rambling but I don’t think anyone here has given MacT the respect he deserves for what he’s done for Oil Country

    • He did some good, and he didn’t get much time, but the Eakins hire and subsequent lengthy rope he was given, pretty much crushed the rebuild. I venture to say that without winning the Mcd lottery, this rebuild never materializes. It was doomed, and insalvagable.

      It can not be overstated just how debilitating the Eakins hire was. Mact cooked his goose with his first decision as GM.

  • Derian Hatcher

    The biggest insight into Lowe IMO was his “I know a thing or two about winning comments” – If this does not define the mans arrogance and self promotion, I don’t know what does. I do not buy that it was a slip – that is who the man is and he laid it out there for all to see.

    If he was as smart as he seems to think he would not have let his ego get in the way of the Comrie deal and Cory Perry would have been an Oiler.

    It’s that simple.

  • O.C.

    fran huckzky wrote:
    Is Kevin Lowe to blame for the Edmonton tornado and the current high price of beef?? I think its about time we all get on with our lives and stop blaming someone else for our problems/

    Serious Gord wrote:
    He’s being blamed for a very specific time period and set of actions. Stop with the strawman bs.

    And we should neither forgive nor forget it. I’m sure he will never apologize for it.



    That’s a bit strong. I disagree.

    Lowe? Arrogant? Sure. Incompetent as a coach or GM? No. His record on what he did with zero budget is not just okay, but good.

    This is the guy who stepped up to the mic and said “Devan Dubnyk”. A ballsy move. The same guy who boldly traded a first rounder for a lifelong backup, and took hell for it from the fans and media. That dude was Duane Roloson.

    He brought in Peca, Pronger. The Ryan Smyth saga was a cluster, and we’ll never know the truth there, but I’m not letting Smyttie’s agent off the hook. Lowe managed to get two (at the time believed to be) solid prospects in Nillson and O’Marra plus the Isles first rounder, all for a rental, pending FA.

    The draft choices in 2007 were awful. But the worst moves was making things personal, hiring ST, and losing focus. The Vanek matter. Chasing Heatley.

    His passion and will to succeed are certain. A history of good moves. A few poor ones. No one should forget the good and dwell on the bad. Especially when good was much greater than the bad, even with his hands tied.

    Never forgive? Heck, this town largely forgave Peter Puck when he showed up for the Cup Reunion. And that crap was purposely undertaken to better his position at direct expense of the Oilers.

    I forgive Lowe. Dude tried.

    RB is right. ST years will go down in history as creating a void that was a cesspool that created an awful, NON TRUSTING culture. He came across as a poser, and worse yet, he tried to be arrogant. “Oblivious” comes to mind.

    A good place to start reading is the ST mishandling of the Roloson resigning, offering $3/1 and losing him for $5/2. That should have been the beginning of the end.

    / #%!?£$ iPad edit

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Oh well. Metaphorically speaking, i guess we’re all living in glass houses. Granted that Oiler residence is more like a glass castle. Who can really blame all those Oiler cops for checking every one of the MSM types for rocks/stones before they enter the grounds/gate. Someone needs to make sure all those marshmallow spines entering the premises are in good working/conforming order.

    Welcome to Edmonton Connor McDavid. Oh btw, you don’t happen to have any rocks in any of your pockets, do you? Mr. Lowe would like to see you in his office when you get a moment.

  • Serious Gord

    I really hope this doesn’t get buried, but I think the Seabrook to the Oilers hype has to end and the pundits like Brownlee need a dose of reality when it comes to Seabrooks overall value.
    I would recommend reading Hendersons take on Seabrook over at hockeybuzz, one which I hope the Oilers brass and other GM’s around the NHL should take a look at.
    First, Seabrook is probably slightly under paid right now, but he’s also on the decline career wise. Look at how many Defensemen are playing productive NHL minutes currently over the age of 32. The list is small, and the ones that will be getting paid big bucks and still remain productive will be small. Seabrook is a great player, but he’s no longer a franchise player. He’s a very good player on a team with about 4 franchise players on it. This isn’t 1995 anymore, D men and forwards age out of the league quicker as it becomes more of a skating games and money pucl takes over. Many of the mainstream media need to realize this.

    Second, Seabrook has been an extremely productive D man on a very good team, but he is aging and playing behind or with a future HOF’er in Kieth and is arguably now behind Hjarmlasson on the Blackhawks depth chart. He’s played an extrodanairy amount of hockey over the last 7 years and many Hawks bloggers (although loving Seabroook) have noted that at 30 (and after suffering two pretty substantial concussions) he’s lost a step skating wise.
    He’s a important but aging cog in the entire machine that is the Chicago Blackhawks. A team that could afford to trade away a 34 y/o Patrick Sharp and A young Brandon Saad and still be considered a contender next season.

    Any cap hit over 7 million and lasting longer than 5 years will be an overpayment for him. People can call it crazy now, but the numbers say that even by 33, Seabrook will significantly overpaid at 7 mil per/yr. I hope the oilers pass on him at that number.

    • Randaman

      Didn’t you know that doses of reality are not accepted well here?

      I agree that there are better options out there to fill the void for two years because I think that’s all we need.

      I am one of the believers in Reinhart.

      Nurse will be a solid if not top tier #1/2D in two years.

      Klefbom will be a solid #2D in one more year

      Reinhart will be a solid #3D in two years.

      Schultz could be a solid #5D / PP specialist with proper coaching and a solid #6 partner (Gryba)

      That by my count is five. Sekera makes 6

      Davidson, Leggilla (sorry for the spelling), Simpson, etc for future 7,8 & 9.

      We will need cap space for Nurse and Klefbom as well.

      The future is bright but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We are not contending for the cup for at least two more years. Anybody who thinks otherwise is delusional to say the least

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      I agree. It will put you in a cap problem and you already have Sekera who will probably be a problem too. As much as I like Giordano, the Flames are not close to contending so I have been advocating moving him for some younger assets.

      • Serious Gord

        I wouldn’t be so swift to discount Calgarys ability to contend.

        They will have solid D a maturing excellent set of forwards and possibly decent goaltending. And they have a ton of cap room.

  • Randaman

    Well, this is depressing to say the least.

    Here we are, bitching and complaining about the past when this spring and summer has been the greatest in many years.

    A generational player that oozes talent and maturity beyond his years.

    A new CEO, POHO & GM,

    A nice list of additions and subtractions to compliment afore mentioned generational player,

    I have one question for all of you;

    Are you going to let the past (Lowe, MacT & Tambi) take away from what will be no doubt the most exciting next ten years since you know when?

    Would you really be upset enough to not go to a Stanley Cup celebration (hopefully) just because Lowe & MacT are there?

    Petty to say the least

    Let’s move on, shall we

  • srelio

    I think that Steve Tambellini has to revive his career by pitching beer as the “world’s least interesting man”!

    The guy was a complete failure and the Vancouver Canucks knew it……..there must have been howls of laughter coming out of their boardroom when the Oiler announced they hired him as their GM.

    I think that Lowe is despised because he hired the biggest dud in the NHL and then promptly disappeared while Rome burned.

    Now we have Connor and competent management, and everyone seems to be engaged again………there is a Hockey God!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Chiarelli hasn’t come out and said it yet to my knowledge, but it seems clear he feels, like MacT, that the upcoming season is going to another “developmental” year. True, the team will be stronger with McDavid and Sekera, but the rest of his player additions are unlikely to be game changers in 2016. McDavid has undeniable talent and may well be as good as Gretzky in a couple of years, but is not likely to be able to carry the team on his back in 2016. Sekera is not a true 1D and can’t be expected to carry the team on his back. Reinhart may be great one day, but he’s only played 9 games in the NHL, and he may need another year in the AHL. Talbot is a question mark. Sure, he looked good last year as a 2G, but so did Scrivens and Fasth before they came here. The other new players are mostly spare parts and unlikely to make much of an impact. Nurse and Drai will be great in the future, but they are still just rookies, and will likely spend at least part of the year in the AHL. So, in the end, the Oilers have added two quality players (McDavid and Sekera) and a new bunch of rookies, question marks,and spare parts.

    McLellan certainly has his work cut out for him. Adding seven new players means a third of the team is changing. Just changing the dysfunctional way the Oilers have played the game in the past is going to take time. With all turnover in the players, it going to take even longer. McLellan is an excellent coach, and I believe he will succeed in the end, but 2016 is likely to be painful.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    If Hawks are trying to resign Oduya, as it appears , and succeed , I feel Seabrook will be traded as a result . Seabrook should receive on open market similar/close to Hamilton and/or perhaps Boychuck 5.75 – 6.5 M cap hit on any 5 year + contract .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    One has to admit, Kevin Lowe has had a banner year. He’s replaced his friend Craig MacTavish without having to fire him. Brought in a new coach in McLellan, and added Connor McDavid to his roster. Adding another cook to his kitchen never hurt (Nicholson) either.

    And all you guys thought Kevin Lowe knew nothing about winning…

    Never has Daryl Katz been prouder of his ole buddy.

  • Serious Gord

    i had to check and confirm but yup, this article was about Souray.

    I was glad when he signed here.

    I enjoyed watching him play. His shot and physical presence was an asset.

    At the time, I was glad Tambo was playing hard ball with him. I’ve since changed my opinion.

    I hope his retirement from hockey goes well.

  • Serious Gord

    Lowe and MacTavish.

    They’ve both done good things for Edmonton.
    They both made mistakes but they were done with the Oiler’s best interest at heart (throwing out that embarrassing news conference).

    I’m glad they’re no longer in charge. I don’t think they did a good job. I think they’re both stubborn and inexperienced but I think their intentions were in the right place and I expect they are both good people. I have met Lowe and he was quite personable.

    They’re gone. The era is over. Let’s move on and usher in a new era with new management and McDavid.