Pulling No Punches - Souray Wants Out
Sheldon Souray had some harsh words for the Edmonton Oilers management and has requested a trade. The defenseman has been injury riddled since joining Edmonton and now joins the growing list of players who have either refused to sign a contract in Edmonton or has demanded a trade. Souray, who spoke with Sportsnet, expressed that his discontent was strictly on the management in Edmonton and not the city nor its fans.
"I want a trade."
"I do," Souray repeated, sounding a little disappointed at the admission. "Yes, I do want a trade."
"It’s not a players thing. It’s not a fans thing or a city thing. It’s a management thing," Souray said. "They’ve given up on me, and it’s a two-way street.
"I don’t talk to anyone (in management) and I don’t expect to when I check out of here," said Souray, who still has two seasons left on the five-year, $27 million deal then-GM Kevin Lowe signed him to in the summer of 2007. "I don’t really need to talk to them. There isn’t anything to say.
"Management has soured on me, and I’ve soured on them," he continued. "The fans are great, they’ve accepted me here, I see the jerseys in the stands. I couldn’t have pictured a more opposite vision of what my experience here would be like. What the organization here would be like, overall."
"I feel now that, when I signed here, I probably was as blinded by their great past as (the Oilers) are," Souray said. "People will question me, that they overpaid me … that it was a bad decision to sign me. But I can tell you this: I turned down more money in other places."
His experience in Edmonton began on the wrong foot for Souray when he arrived at his first training camp nursing a shoulder injury.
"I wasn’t even ready to play when I came here, but it was like, ‘We signed you, you go out and play.’ I hadn’t been cleared to play yet, but I was being questioned by the organization:‘When are you going to be able to play?’
"I go out, play six games, and I get hurt."
Souray said it wasn’t the training staff applying the pressure; it was "management."
He fought Vancouver’s Byron Ritchie in Game 6 of the 2007-08 season and re-injured his shoulder, missing the next 55 games.
"I got challenged by management on the very first day of my first training camp. The very first day," he said. "They said, ‘When are you going to play?’ I said, ‘I have a six month (shoulder) injury and I’m at five months.’ But I played.
Edmonton has perhaps the brightest future in terms of upcoming prospects such as Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. They also will have a top 2 pick in this year's entry draft with either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin in their future. It is interesting to see what this wrinkle does in their plan and how the prospects and players, both around the league and within the organization, react to these comments.
With a $5.4 million cap hit over the next two seasons, the injury prone defenseman was already a tough sell. Souray has definitely not made things easier for Steve Tambellini and the Edmonton Oilers by forcing their hand.