Souray speaks on situation with Oilers

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Sheldon Souray didn’t have much to say.

The Edmonton Oilers spoke volumes this summer when they waived the veteran defenceman in an effort to accommodate his request to be shipped out of town.

The message came back loud and clear when every team in the National Hockey League passed on the opportunity to acquire him for free.

And as if that wasn’t humbling enough, Souray has now been told to stay from training camp by general manager Steve Tambellini.

He’s not wanted in Edmonton either.

“Things are pretty clear right now and my agent and Steve can discuss the situation,” Souray said following an informal skate with the rest of the

Oilers on Tuesday. “It hasn’t changed my focus of being ready and being prepared. Other than that, there’s not too much to say.”

With a pair of years left on a contract that pays him $5.4-million each of the next two seasons, Souray finds himself in limbo.

The Oilers have been trying to move the Elk Point native since he came out publicly at the end of last season requesting a trade.

The timing of the request seemed odd, considering Souray had his season come to a premature end due to a wrist injury. It’s tough to move a player that is unable to play.

Now, it’s ironic that in an effort to expedite the process by criticizing the organization and the general manager in particular, Souray doesn’t look as though he’ll get to start this season on time.

“I’m disappointed not to be going to camp, because I’ve worked hard all summer to be in good shape,” Souray said. “But there are a lot of positive things to focus on here in Edmonton and people should focus on that. There have been a lot of changes that have been made and there is certainly a good feeling coming into camp with the team this year. That should be the focus.”

Clearly Tambellini is not interesting in infecting his young crop of talented forwards with a disgruntled defenceman.

So unless a deal can be hammered out between now and the start of training camp, Souray will need to find somewhere else to skate in order to stay in shape while awaiting a trade.

“I think he feels the same way we all do, he wants to get this done and he wants to move on,” said Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert. “What is he going to do now? I have no idea. But I know he wants to find a place to play. It was a surprise to see that he’s not allowed at camp, but it’s one of those things, that sometimes things just don’t work out.

“He’s a great player, he has great assets to him. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him for a couple of years now. He’s a great defenceman and has a great shot. He’s a guy that you always want on your team. But whether he’s on the team or not, you’d like it to be out of the way. You just want to get through this.”

In speaking to the media on Monday, Souray appeared to be ready to put things behind him, be the good solider and come to training camp to help in anyway possible.

However, according to Tambellini, Souray’s agent Paul Theofanous, was informed last week his client would not be welcomed at training camp.

“Shelly is a great friend, he’s been a great teammate to us, but it’s a situation where the decision has been made by the organization,” said centre Shawn Horcoff. “It’s really out of our hands, so there’s nothing much we can do.

“I think everyone is frustrated it got to this point and where it’s at. But it is what it is, you can’t really change the past and I think the organization has made a stance of what they want done and as players you just have to go on with your day.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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