SUN Hockey Pool

Souray shrugs off 'tweak'

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:15 PM ET

The play looked harmless, but the results could have proven disastrous for Sheldon Souray and the Edmonton Oilers.

Souray was forced to leave Friday's game against the San Jose Sharks early, after injuring his left shoulder while trying to corral the puck at the point.

The Oilers defenceman was on the ice yesterday at practice and is expected to be back in the lineup tonight against the St. Louis Blues (6 p.m.) at Rexall Place.

"I just gave my shoulder a little tweak ... it was a pretty innocent play," Souray said.

"It was a precautionary thing more than anything at that point, trying to make sure I'm ready for the next game and not make it any worse."

It's the same shoulder, thatwas surgically repaired last season, limiting Souray to 26 games.

Since coming back this year, he has not experienced any difficulty with the shoulder and has been one of the club's most productive players with 29 points in 39 games.

The native of Elk Point has played so well this season, he was selected as the Oilers lone representative for the upcoming NHL all-star game.

"It doesn't feel like the same thing at all," Souray said. "It's just a little tweak. It took a little while for things to settle down, and to come back into the game with five or 10 minutes left at that point didn't make much sense."

Heading into the season there were questions as to how strong the shoulder would be following the surgery.

Souray quickly put those questions to rest, showing no ill effects from the procedure. He's tied with Andrew Cogliano for the team lead in goals, with 12.

"If it was the same thing, I think we would have to be more on top of it," Souray said.

"But it was kind of a little burner more than anything. It just took a while to get some of the feeling back."

The Oilers are already having to play without first-line winger Ales Hemsky, who is still trying to shake the cobwebs after getting stapled to the boards by Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo.

"Sheldon's got the history with that shoulder, so we wanted to make sure that we were not forcing him into a situation that could put him into any further jeopardy," saidhead coach Craig MacTavish.

"I was surprised he practised (yesterday), but he wanted to get a feel of what it was going to be like and we'll see what it's like (today)."

Souray still plans on attending the Jan. 25 all-star game in Montreal.

Shawn Horcoff attended the annual showcase last season, only to come back and reveal he required season-ending shoulder surgery.

There is no such concern yet with Souray.

"I haven't even give that one bit of thought yet," said MacTavish. "I've got another host of problems to deal with before I get there. But we will be cautious in that situation."

If there is a change in his status and Souray is unable to play tonight, Jason Strudwick will take his place on the blue line.

The veteran, who has been used in a utility role this season, skated with the defencemen yesterday.


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