SUN Hockey Pool

Souray shoulders pain

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

It's not so flimsy that it's being held together with bubble gum and baling twine, but there's every chance Sheldon Souray's shoulder won't make it to the finish line.

He's only been back three weeks after missing two months with a second degree sprain and it's already bothering him to the point that he simply won't be able to play every game.

If he's that iffy right now, obviously it won't take much to push him over the edge.

"It's out there, for sure,"head coach Craig MacTavish said of concerns for Souray's season. "You know that he's not 100%, and there's the sense that he's not going to be able to play the whole year with us.

"It's a concern for us, but you just have to deal with the circumstances and manage it the best way you can."

That means giving him the odd game off, like they did against Nashville, and hoping he holds up until the end of the season - or until such time as the Oilers are all but mathematically eliminated and it doesn't matter anymore.

Souray isn't looking past the next game.

"Right now, with the situation I'm in I look at tonight, getting through tonight,"he said. "If you look at the big picture and start looking at April, it's going to seem like a mountain.

"I don't want to make it sound worse than it is, but it is something we'll have to monitor. We need to be a little cautious because it was starting to get to the point where I wasn't being very effective. We took a step back, got the treatment and I'm starting to feel a little better."

But he's not going to be 100% for the rest of the season. The shot, the muscle in front of the net, being able to contain big opposition forwards, all of it is connected to the bad shoulder.

"There's a lot that you probably take for granted when you're healthy,"he said. "Right now I certainly wish I was feeling better, but there's 23 guys in here who could say the same thing."

All players are one bad hit or one unfortunate landing away from an early summer, but Souray is probably moreso.

That can be an unnerving thought, so he doesn't think about it.

"It's the old case of if you start worrying about injuries, you become a little more vulnerable. It's injuries, you just deal with them. It's just part of the game.

"As long as we're proactive like we were the other day. It sucks to miss a game and the momentum, but I'd rather miss one than five. If we can juggle it like that, we'll be OK."

HEMSKY BACK IN: Ales Hemsky is getting a little tired of the training room. He's already missed seven games with a pair of knee injuries this season after playing just 64 games last season.

"Yeah it's (frustrating), but there's nothing you can do, you just have to live with it," said Edmonton's best player, who's been targeted by the likes of Martin Lapointe and Derek Boogaard.

"You can't change your game. If something happens you just have to handle it. If you start worrying like that, you might get hurt more."

Still, nobody wants to be a punching bag.

"I'm a little bit angry,"he said of Lapointe's cheap shot on Dec. 23. "He stuck his knee. But it's over I can't do anything. It's done."

STORTINI'S GREEN LIGHT: Earlier this season MacTavish gave Zack Stortini a red light when it came to fighting, but the 22-year-old is free to go as he pleases, so long as he doesn't get suicidal.

"I feel like he's got a little defence," said MacTavish. "He can survive them now and he's winning fights. It's a tall order to have a junior come out, especially a guy like Zack who is so willing. He's not going to back down unless he's directed to back down.

"But it was really important for him that he came in and learned how to play the game and wasn't forced to fight the Boogaards of the world. Now he's able to play, he's not a guy I have to hide. He's dependable positionally and he's savvy physically. And he's got more latitude to do what he needs to do in the fights."


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