Souray cryptic the day after

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 PM ET

EDMONTON - This isn’t supposed to be how it ends.

Sheldon Souray, Alberta boy through and through, was supposed to ride off into the sunset when his days in Edmonton were over, with both he and the Oilers richer for their time spent together.

Instead, with the relationship deteriorating into trade demands, ugly allegations and a bitter ‘He said, They said,’ Souray and the team he grew up cheering for can’t get rid of each other fast enough.

“What should have been an ideal situation has turned into something that’s a lot less than that for me, and for the organization,” said the veteran defenceman, a day after saying he couldn’t bear to play another season for Oilers management.

“It’s disappointing to be standing here talking about this. I never would have felt that I’d have to be out here talking about this.”

He’s talking about it — and, to his credit, he did talk about it when it would have been easy to sneak out the back door after yesterday’s locker clean-out — because he accused former GM Kevin Lowe of telling him to lace up for the season opener when both men knew he still had a shoulder injury.

It sounds absurd that a team would order a newly-signed free agent to go out there with an injured shoulder one day into a five-year $27 million contract, but that’s the eye of this storm.

Souray backed off a little when he met with the media on Tuesday, but not totally.

“It’s a situation where I wasn’t quite ready to play and I ended up playing and caused a lot more harm,” he said. “As a professional athlete you get judged a lot by your salary and you want to go out there and prove your worth. I was trying to do that at a time when I wasn’t quite ready.”

Asked specifically if he told them he wasn’t ready and they told him to play anyway, Souray wouldn’t go there.

“There’s a timeline for these things and we hadn’t met those timelines. A large part of that is my own fault for going out there and trying to perform and live up to the expectations when I signed there.”

Souray also complained about lack of communication with Steve Tambellini after he broke his hand on Jan. 31, but neglected to say he never showed up at the rink for weeks at a time to communicate with anybody.

He asks for a trade, breaks his hand in a fight so they can’t trade him, goes into hiding after the injury and gets mad that they didn’t call to see how he was?

Clearly he doesn’t want to be here.

“It’s been a challenge,” he said. “Not everyone, and not all the time, but I think it should be easier than it has been. Nothing is perfect. I know I’m certainly not perfect, Maybe I could have been a better communicator, maybe I could have got this across to the management in a different form, but there had been a lot of discussions behind closed doors.”

Souray was generally cryptic in his interview, alluding to everything but specific about nothing.

“I’ve had a lot of time of the last couple of months to sit and think about some of the things that have happened to me while I’ve been here. I’m not the kind of guy who wakes up one morning and says ‘Hey, let me call someone and get this off my chest.’ There’s been a lot of things physically and mentally that have happened to get to that point.”

It won’t be a problem very much longer. There’s no going back after this one; Souray’s days in Edmonton are over, it’s just a question of when.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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