Hip! Hip! Souray!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

Had Sheldon Souray not joined Team Canada for another few days, nobody would have minded. Having just finished competing in the Swedish Elite League's final series, he could easily have been excused for skipping the training camp in Calgary and simply joining his new teammates for the upcoming exhibition games in Quebec City and Halifax.

But Souray chose to shorten his rest time at home in Montreal and was a surprise addition for yesterday's session.

"I was anxious to get here," said the Montreal Canadiens defenceman. "I don't think I've ever dreamed of being here, so this is a huge honour."

Souray, who helped Farjestads reach the final but lost to Frolunda, was home for all of one day when he decided to hop a flight to Calgary to join in a couple of practices.

The excitement of representing Canada for the first time was the driving force behind the decision.

Which explains his reaction when posed what he thinks his role will be.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," said the product of Elk Point, Alta.

"I'll fill the water bottles, be the seventh defenceman. Whatever they want.

"I just want to keep playing."

Though Souray is a big body at 6 ft. 4 in., and 230 lb., his addition is about more than just muscle.

After missing a season due to wrist surgery, he rebounded greatly in the 2003-04 campaign with a career-best 15 goals and 35 points. Among that was a six-point game that set a Canadiens record.

As well, having spent the winter in Sweden where he collected nine goals and eight assists in 39 regular-season games, he's accustomed to the game on the larger ice.

"What I learned from this year is you don't change your game," Souray said.

"You just keep playing hard."

Which you can certainly expect from the veteran rearguard whose career seems to be getting better every year.

"Everything that's happened to me the last couple of years are a lot of things you never expect," he said.


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