SUN Hockey Pool

Fog finally lifts for Souray

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Shedon Souray doesn't remember slamming into the end boards, or being helped off the ice, or much of anything that happened the last time he played a hockey game.

All he recalls are the brief moments when his brain managed to fire properly for a few seconds, pulling him out of the haze just long enough to realize something wasn't right.

"I kind of remember sitting in the training room watching the game on TV," said the Oilers defenceman, speaking publicly for the first time since his Oct. 8 concussion.

"I was in my equipment. I was (like) 'whoa, this is kind of weird.' Things kinds of came back to me slowly, but I don't remember what happened."

It's been a month since Jarome Iginla tripped the skates out from under Souray as they raced for a loose puck at the end boards, and the Oiler has spent all but the last four days of it feeling terrible.

Weak, dizzy, nauseous and with pounding headaches if he even thought about exerting himself, Souray's biggest challenge has been getting through the day, never mind playing hockey again.

"The best way to describe it is it's like having a hangover," he said. "This one lasted a long time."

So long that he was starting to get worried.

"I guess that's the frustrating part when you think, 'OK, I'll be out for a week or I'll be out for two weeks,' and all of a sudden, it's three weeks and four weeks.

"The most frustrating thing is there's no timetable. I had a day in there where I felt good, and the next day I couldn't come to the rink I had such a bad headache."

He feels well enough now to begin light skating and exercise, but still has no idea when he'll be game-ready.

For now, just seeing any kind of progress whatsoever is a huge emotional lift.

"It's nice to get out there and skate a little bit and get workouts in," he said.

"It's been a long few weeks of holding pattern, of waiting to get better. It's nice to see some progress. It's almost like the fog lifted."

There is still a long, long way to go, however.

First they have to make sure the head is 100% for an extended period and through more than just a casual twirl around Rexall, then he has to get his body back into game shape after a month of nothing, then he has to overcome the mental barriers that stand in front of every player returning from a significant injury.

"You can't say you're close or you're far," he said.

"Look at Stevie (Staios, who came back two games after his concussion and had to miss the next 11). To see him come back and try to ignore some of his symptoms and try to be a warrior ... when it's your head you can't really do that.

"We'll try to learn from his setbacks. We're trying to handle this the right way (and) make sure when I do come back it's not coming back for one game. I'm going to learn from Stevie's situation. I'll come back when I feel 100%."

His thoughts on Iginla?

"Injuries happen in a game, most often they're not intentional," said Souray.

"I respect Jarome as a person and as a player. Things happen in the course of a game. It's a high-speed, high-collision game. Injuries are part of it.

"It's a situation that happens a lot, puck gets dumped in, you go back ... I knew there was pressure on me and I was going back to make the play. It's one of those things that if you bail out there, it's obvious. There's risk, you expect to be rubbed out. But accidents happen in the game, things happen and you deal with it."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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