Souray stuck in Oilers limbo

Defenceman Sheldon Souray was not picked up on re-entry waivers and will be sent back to the AHL....

Defenceman Sheldon Souray was not picked up on re-entry waivers and will be sent back to the AHL. (JORDAN VERLAGE/QMI Agency)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:07 AM ET

EDMONTON - There are no takers for estranged defenceman Sheldon Souray.

The big blueliner with the even bigger cap hit cleared waivers, even though the Oilers would have paid half of his contract, this year and next, to whoever plucked him off the wire.

So it’s back to Hershey in the American Hockey League until they make a decision on him in the summer — either buy him out, try to trade him (highly unlikely) or invite him to camp (even less likely).

“It’s a bit shocking to me, I think Sheldon is a good player,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.

“I think an awful lot of teams would need someone like that down the stretch. It’s a bit unusual to me.”

Souray’s former Edmonton teammates were hoping the soap opera would come to a close last weekend, but with another year left on a cap hit of $5.4 million US and a long history of injuries, it wasn’t to be.

“I’ve known Shelley for a long time ... he was a great teammate and a good person,” said Shawn Horcoff.

“I was hoping he’d get picked up and be able to move on. I’m sure it’s not the end for him, just a setback. I’m sure there will be something on the horizon for him somewhere else.”

“It’s tough for him, he has a lot of pride,” said Sam Gagner. “He wants to be in the NHL.”

With Souray technically on the Oilers roster, Taylor Chorney couldn’t practise with the club on Monday.

He was technically re-assigned, but will join the team in Minnesota once Souray clears the books today.

Star Honours: Ales Hemsky’s seven-point outburst during Edmonton’s recent win streak earned him NHL third star of the week honours.

“It’s nice to be recognized like that, but in the end it’s not the most important thing to me,” said Hemsky, who had four goals and three assists in wins over Dallas, Montreal and Atlanta.

“What’s important to me is playing better as a team. Hopefully we can keep going from that.”

Hemsky credits his longtime linemates, Horcoff and Dustin Penner, for the help.

“We feel really strong together,” he said. “We’ve played together the last four years, pretty much. We finish every season together, we know what to expect from each other.

“We feel strong about our game. If you’re not having a good game, the other two guys are, and as a line we figure it out.”

With the trade deadline approaching, Hemsky’s days with Penner as a linemate might be numbered, or he might even have played his last game as an Oiler at Rexall Place.

“We’ll have to see,” he said before the Oilers headed out on their two-game road trip.

“I’m still here and I have one more year left. It’s in my head, I know it could happen, could go either way, but I don’t hold the cards.”

His stock is definitely sky high after the last week or so.

“I don’t think about it like that,” he said. “I’m just trying to help the team.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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