Souray out for year

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

For the third time this season, head coach Craig MacTavish stood before the assembled media and announced that one of his key players is done for the year.

First it was Raffi Torres and his knee. Then Shawn Horcoff and his shoulder. And now Sheldon Souray, fresh off of shoulder surgery himself, is lost till next September.

It's almost getting routine, if watching a season disintegrate piece by piece can ever be considered routine.

"You deal with the set of circumstances you have as a player or a coach," MacTavish said yesterday. "The cavalry is seldom ever coming in the NHL. If you're looking for the cavalry you're in the wrong locker-room."

Maybe, but as the main ingredients fall away, trying to rustle up a late-season charge with what's left must seem like trying to bake a cake without eggs and milk. And Ales (Sugar) Hemsky is playing hurt, too.

"It's frustrating," said MacTavish. "But we have depth and we're very capable, with the group that we have, of winning hockey games. That's what we have to do. You put it behind you and get better with the group you have. Injuries are something you have to overcome.

"It sounds like a broken record, but until somebody gives me some better advice on how to handle them, that's the way we're going to handle them - you go in there, you play your best game and win the hockey game."

The Oilers, however briefly, left hope alive for a Souray comeback, but it just didn't make sense.

There would be no point in coming back if Edmonton wasn't in the playoff hunt, and even if they did make it, the odds of Souray surviving a seven-game playoff series were mighty slim. Better to give it a full eight months to recover and be 100% (which they assure us will be the case), than risk reinjury in April.

He'll wear a sling for the next four to six weeks, fly back to his specialist in New Jersey to see if everything's OK, and then begin the "long and aggressive" rehabilitation process.

"It's one of those things that needed to be fixed sooner rather than later so it doesn't carry over to next year," said Souray. "The doctor said with a good rehab it's going to be the best I've felt in four or five years. That's a positive thing. That's what I'm looking forward to next year.

"Look at Ethan (Moreau). He went through the same thing and he came back stronger than ever. That's why it was important to get it done now and not wait to see what happens with the team."

Souray injured his labrum in the last game of last season, had surgery over the summer, then injured it again six games into this season during a fight with Vancouver's Byron Ritchie. This time it was a separation, with some cartilage and biceps damage.

Coming back too soon left him vulnerable - to the point where lifting an opponent's stick knocked him out of the lineup.


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