Souray's shoulder holding up

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

If there's such a thing as sympathy pains for a sore shoulder, the Edmonton Oilers were writhing with them on Tuesday.

Everyone from Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe to 19 other guys on the team felt a twinge when Sheldon Souray skated to the bench favouring his bad shoulder.

The prospect of losing him again, a handful of games after he returned from two months on the shelf the first time, scared the hockey pants off of everyone.

But Souray returned to the game and pronounced himself fine for tomorrow against New Jersey.

"We knew coming back from injury you're going to have little things happen," said Souray, who separated his shoulder in an Oct. 13 fight with Vancouver's Byron Ritchie.

"But it's nothing serious and it's not going to cause me to miss any time."

He said he hurt it again when a Dallas player's stick rode up and jabbed him square on the shoulder.

"It was almost like a little burner where things go numb for a little bit," he said. "A little soreness, but it doesn't mean I'm going to miss any time.

"It was kind of Murphy's Law; it's never happened before, but it's something that's got to happen now. When you have an injury you tend to tweak it a little more.

"I think the guy was just reaching for the puck and got me in the shoulder, which is pretty odd.

"In 11 years I haven't had anything like that happen. A stick in the shoulder is pretty unusual. When things just happen, they happen, it's a part of the game."

Souray says he'll decide in the summer whether or not he needs surgery.

"We're going to have to get through this season and see how it is. It's going to need some time to recover.

"We'll see in the summer, sit down and talk with the doctors and see what our options are.

"But as far as this season goes, we're going to have to live with some of the issues that are going to come up."

PITKANEN AT HOME

Joni Pitkanen got off to a slow start in Edmonton, but he's been terrific in the last few weeks.

He loves that Edmonton's system allows him to exercise a little creativity and says he's feeling much more at home off the ice as well.

"I think here is more of an up and down game,"he said. "The east is more defensive, they're playing the trap. Here we have very fast guys and when we get the puck, we're going. That's a big difference.

"Now I know the guys and how we play. It feels a lot more comfortable."

So does the city of Edmonton.

"It's like back in Finland, snow and a little cold," he said. "People here are very nice and friendly, like Finland."

MacTavish knew Pitkanen could skate, but even he's been taken aback by his wheels.

"He told me very early on not to worry about some of the higher risk plays he makes in front of the opposition net because he'll beat them back," said MacTavish.

"And he does."

CASTAWAY

Defenceman Matt Greene has his cast removed and has begun the rehabilitation process on his broken ankle.

"It's good to walk on it again," he said. "I still have a while (to go before his February return), but it's good to get your life back. You're not on crutches anymore, you can carry things and walk around." ... With Denis Grebeshkov struggling mightily in his last game, Friday might be a good opportunity to insert Dick Tarnstrom in the lineup. He's ready to go after a dozen games out with a concussion.


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