Tambellin's New Culture... The Forwards

We began yesterday by taking a look at who might likely stay (keeper) and who might likely go (mover) in Tambellini's ideal new Oilers culture. Only one real player, Aaron Johnson seemed to be in the middle (tweener) because he seems the kind of player Tambellini would like, but if a better skilled and more proven blueliner comes in, could spell the end for Johnson on this team.

Let's look similarly at the fowards.

Dustin Penner

It's hard to imagine that Tambellini would have been referring to Penner when he commented on the year end meetings in which certain players talk about scoring 5 more goals and the team sucking, but Dustin Penner does fit the 5 more goals description before this past season in which he jumped from 17 to 32 goals. Penner seems to be finally understanding what using his size, skill and natural ability are all about and not coincidentally, players who played on Penner's line, played better. When he's not forced to play as much as he did, he should be able to better maintain his energy level and the Oilers lack 30 goal scorers.

He took the MacTavish years with professionalism, he seems to be a player his teammates respect and he's not once said a bad thing about Edmonton or the Oilers franchise, even though he's been given ample opportunity.


Ales Hemsky

He is easily the Oilers most skilled players and if he could have even one full season healthy should be an 80 point player. He works great with Penner, he'd be a treat for a player like Taylor Hall who wants the pass (if that's who the Oilers draft) or would finally have a possible number one centre in Tyler Seguin.

The problem, is that rumors are that the Oilers wonder if Hemsky would stay after his contract is up and with only two years, would that be enough time with this new draft pick to wet Hemsky's appetite to staying.

He's still a bargain at just over $4 million, but, he has trade value, is often injured and may not be known as the ultimate team player. So too, what good is a player who only has two years left, when the team is two years from being a competitive one.

Tweener (depending on the trade value coming back)

Shawn Horcoff

I believe that Horcoff can still be a 60-65 point regular NHL'er. No, he's not worth the $5.5 cap hit, but he does offer a lot of other intangibles. He's ideally what the Oiler management team wants to see from its players in terms of attitude, effort, leadership and determination to improve. Horcoff not only likes being an Oiler, but he's the first to call other players and possible signings and preach the organization and the city.

All that may be irrelevant, as few if any teams would consider taking his contract on until he gets another 65 point season, so whether or not Edmonton wants him, their stuck with him.


Sam Gagner

Young, talented, and just scraping the surface of what he'll become. He's got the right attitude even when delegated to the 4th line to start the year. Gagner simply knows he has to work his way back up to the top six. He's streaky, but he's also going to be a great 2nd line centre (with potential for top line time) for the start of what will likely be a long term contract.

A rebuild requires players that are young, have great upside and fall into the core group of where you want to go. That is Sam Gagner to a tee.


Robert Nilsson

He's got great skill, maybe second only to Hemsky; but he's streaky, he's paid too much and with similar players coming in, he's an odd man out when there are so many others like him. It doesn't help he's had a less than perfect relationship with coaches, his effort to improve his overall game and he seems to be a healthy scratch as often as a sure bet to make the line-up type player.

Side Note* Calgary will be looking for skill and with the tradition of trades between Calgary and Edmonton now started, perhaps he makes a move there. That is of course if Sutter is still in charge. Sutter seems to be keen on taking failed players in one environment and giving them a shot in another.


Andrew Cogliano

There's no way if I were Tambellini that I'd trade this kid. But, I'm not privy to the offers that come to him for Cogs and if the right offer is there, I suppose it would have to be considered. Cogliano does provide a lot of the same skillset that other Oiler players do and if there's one thing for certain, there are too many of the same type players here.

Cogliano still amazes me with his speed even though I know how fast he is. With the right linemates, he's an excellent offensive weapon and he's not afraid to get dirty, which Tambellini needs.

If he's cheap to re-sign and the offers don't make sense to move him...


Patrick O'Sullivan

He took the NHL trophy for plus/minus on the wrong end at -35. He scored a whole lot less than he was supposed to and he makes about $1 million more than he should.

I'm biased here, because I had huge hopes for O'Sullivan more than maybe any other Oiler to start the year. I now realize that a big problem exists and that is who would want him. He seems to be the exact "me first" type player Tambellini wants to move out (ironic since Tambo traded for him) and O'Sullivan has whined in the past about ice-time and position. Not a good combination.

He's a prime candidate for a buy-out or a big contract buried in the minors if the status of his deal allows for it.


Fernando Pisani

If and only if, the Oilers need roster players at league minimum in terms of salary, and Pisani would be willing to take it should he be considered. He's still bringing some traits to the table, he's simply not worth a high price tag and his health is a concern.


Mike Comrie

I like Comrie. I think his plan was to jump-start his comeback by signing in Edmonton where he'd have a chance to shine, lead, and enjoy himself after learning from past history. I'd make s bet he's also not opposed to finishing his career here. He's a good example of what being an Oiler means after learning the hard way what not to do and he still has great goal scoring skill from any line and with any players. Healthy, he'd have been on pace for 25 goals and 40 points.

You need a player like him at a smaller salary to plug holes and teams like Phoenix and others signed a ton of these type of UFA lates, showing how successful that strategy can be. Comrie makes sense from a mentor point of view and he's known as a guy everyone likes and one that purely loves to come to the rink and play hockey.


Ethan Moreau

The Oilers may ride out his contract and ask him to play a physical banger role the rest of his days as an Oiler. He still has the ability to play, as was evident with his newfound ethusiasm after realizing the Oilers couldn't trade him at the deadline because nobody wanted him; but I'd prefer him on the 3rd line checking role or 4th line grinder to a JF Jacques and since the Oilers won't contend next year and he simply comes off the books instead of a buyout.

I'd have said the same for O'Sullivan, but I think Sully more than Moreau is a negative in that dressing room. Moreau may run that risk too if he's acting as if he's not wanted and pouts his way to the end of his career instead of playing for a chance to continue it.

Tweener, but more Keeper than Mover

Zack Stortini

He's the perfect fit for this Oiler team right now. He understands his role is to stir things up and bang bodies. He has no problem taking it to the net, making the Oilers harder to play against and his ultimate goal is to be a regular third line player. You can't find a better example of what the Oilers should emulate in terms of heart. The Oilers just don't have enough of him.

He's not very skilled, but more-so than other 4th liners who only fight. Stortini can get you 7-10 goals if lucky and can actually burn the opposition if they see him as only a scrapper.


Ryan Potulny

He's done well to be asked to join Team USA, but he seems the odd man out if the Oilers are moving players that are too much like each other. His goal total was impressive considering no one expected it, and he's got mad offensive skill and puck moves, but much of that came on the power play in gravy type ice-time and during the shoot-outs where he looked better than just good.

I like Potulny, but as an RFA, I see his 15 goalsin 64 games more as a carrot to dangle in trade.


Gilbert Brule

This kid is part of the core going forward for sure. He's getting better and better and understanding the NHL game more and more. He's got the skill to play top six, but has the grit to fit in your bottom six too. He would have had 20 goals if not for injury at the end of the year and he earned a lot of those the hard way by crashing and banging and picking up the goals many forwards don't like to pay the price for.

What the Oilers sign him for will be key, as they need his style of play but can't afford to overpay for it, but my guess is he appreciates the team giving him a second chance after Columbus and he'll prove to be a strong Oiler.


Marc Pouliot

Pouliot has great skill, but I believe he's being mis-placed on this roster. He's been showing a lot more attention to earning his results with a strong effort to end the year and despite missing almost 50 games, had seven goals and fourteen points. Is that great? No, not compared to a player like Comrie who had 13 goals and 7 more points in only 8 more games; but Pouliot may now be showing signs of becoming the player the Oilers drafted so high.

It might be a shame to give up on him now if he's just starting to come into his own. Some players take a while to adjust and Pouliot's injuries had to help slow that process. I'd like to see the Oilers do with Pouliot what they did with Gagner at the start of last year. 4th line and make it clear, they expect him with his skills to elevate himself past that point if he wants to keep a job.

Ryan Jones

He's got an ability to score from the 4th line and doesn't lack the size or grit to be there. The Oilers picked him off waivers for a reason and they need a few guys who have defined bottom six roles on this team where Jones fits nicely. With only one year left at a low salary, he makes sense to keep around too.


Ryan Stone

I liked Stone and the element he brought, but he's another odd man out if he can't be a grinder on the 4th line. Is he a solid 4th line centre, who can bang but also play? Maybe, but he wasn't started there last season and he can't be a 2nd line guy since there has to be a place for players like Eberle and Hall/Seguin. While they aren't comparable style players, some bodies have to go.


JF Jacques

Tambellini likes him and so do I on the 4th line. He's not first line player like he was positioned for at the start of last year, but he needs to do what he did at the beginning which was hit everyone that moved on the other team. In that role he's effective and he's not expensive. He's also willing to fight but has more offensive upside than a fighter. Quinn and Tambellini both seem to like that about him.


Our next article will be to take stock of our advice and see what kind of line-up that gives the Oilers. Where does it leave room for incoming prospects or talent? How does Tambellini move some of the movers?

Tough call, but that too should be fun to speculate on.


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Tambellini Calls For a New Culture? Who Is He Referring To?

Steve Tambellini said a many number of things in his Wednesday media scrum. He took time to respond to questions about Sheldon Souray, obtaining the #1 overall draft pick, buying out and trading players, and above all, Tambellini wanted to make it known he sees the real issue in Edmonton as a need to change the culture.

Tambellini believes this team and every other connected to it, has lost the identity of what it means to be an Oiler. That the past reflects a number of bad decisions in bringing in and developing players who think more about their own success than the success of the team on which they play.

He wants to take the time to ensure that from the grass roots up, this franchise is breeding the attitude of a champion. The attitude that you love the game, you love your team and the environment around it, and above all you'll do whatever it takes to improve your play and the play of those around you. That the two are not mutually exclusive.

I know that talk is talk, and that we heard some preaching at the end of last season, but I like what was said this time around more than last. Without sounding too "it's not me, it's you", Tambellini essentially said he was dealing with past contracts and mistakes and that he was now ready to get down to business when last year he was limited and his hands were somewhat tied.

Tambellini seemed excited that he could now begin to change the makeup and culture of the franchise. It sounded like he had specific people in mind and my immediate reaction was who?

He mentioned having end of the year meetings in which players described their own personal accolades as a more important factor than the success and development of their team. He mentioned that others spoke of improving, even though they individually grew, but that their goal was to be a better group overall.

Whether he was referring to anyone on this Oilers team or not we may never know, but it's far too much fun not to speculate, so we'll break it down over the next couple days by position starting with goalies and defencemen. We'll categorize them as keepers, movers or tweeners and at the end suggest a direction Tambellini might want to take.

Nikolai Khabibulin

Pretend for a minute that Khabibulin's age and salary don't play a factor, even though we know they do. Tambellini seems to firmly believe that Bulin is the MVP of this Oilers team and the best choice in net going forward. That Khabibulin makes for a great teammate, leader, mentor and proven champion. That had Khabibulin stayed healthy the Oilers wouldn't be drafting first overall. I tend to agree if Bulin can get his act together and stay healthy. I still don't like the contract to which he was signed, but that's another conversation for another day and he did choose Edmonton over Chicago who offered similar money, which says a lot.


Devan Dubnyk

He's less experienced, but to me has shown more than Jeff Deslauriers this season in limited action. He's a big body, less of a fish out of water and a more positional goalie who seems to limit his highs and lows in terms of performance. Yes, he had a stretch and almost broke a record for starts without a win, but those were far from his fault and he deserved a much better fate in some of those contests. So too, while Dubnyk would likely get claimed off waivers, his trade value may be a bit lower than JDD so keeping him makes more sense.


Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

He's been rumored in some other trades, thus he might have some value. Especially in Montreal, where I've heard his name pop up at least twice. He's been good, but as mentioned a bit up and down. Unlike Dubnyk, he's won games for Edmonton and clearly been the main factor in a few lost games for the team. He'll go less because of his own play, but more because Tambellini said no three goalies this coming season. Expect he's an added peice to another trade.


Ryan Whitney

Tambellini called him a possibly better overall defenceman than Lubomir Visnovksy, even if he may not possess the offensive upside. Whitney has been one of the Oilers best players since the trade deadline and his salary is much more acceptable. He's young, he has great chemistry with Tom Gilbert and he too is a proven playoff veteran despite his age. Better still, he wasted no time in calling out the lockeroom and their loser mentality immediately following his arrival and has been part of a massive rebuild before, which means he's got balls and is just the right kind of experience to have at this time for this team. Tambellini no doubt likes that.


Sheldon Souray

He's proven with his exit from Montreal and his now very public trade request from Edmonton that he's too emotional and in it for himself, even if he is right in what he says. While healthy, he's been a great addition for the Oilers, but he makes far too much money for a team in a full rebuild and he's been less than injury free. Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney's emergence as the top pair moving forward means Sheldon just doesn't make sense here. That he wants out only helps me clearly call him old news.


Tom Gilbert

His $4 million is an overpayment, but he has much more of a potential to live up to that money than anyone else on the blueline. He was more than hot to end the season once placed in a bigger role and he seems to love playing with Whitney. The Oilers want a blueliner that excels instead of shrivels with more ice-time and responsibility and Gilbert truly seems to like his teammates and living here in Edmonton.


Ladislav Smid

He provides toughness, was a crazy good plus player when he wasn't hurt and he's just scraping the surface of understanding the NHL game. He's a jokester in the lockerroom, his teammates love his personality and he's willing at any time to stand up for anyone on his team, whether he's about to win or lose the altercation. His contract is also very acceptable for a team looking to shed salary, which the Oilers clearly are.


Aaron Johnson

He's been a fireball of energy since he arrived as a throw in on the Steve Staios trade. He started hot, but fizzled out likely because the huge increase in ice time over an extended period caught up to him not having been used to it. That said, his hustle and ability to provide toughness, grit, and a bit of offensive touch would make him a great 6th d-man with lesser ice time where he could really keep his energy at a high level. He seems to like getting in the face of opponents and out working the other guy. That's what Tambellini is looking for.

Keeper but possible tweener. I'll explain later.

Jason Strudwick

The Oilers need players who love this city. Players who love this team. Players who are upbeat, veterans and leaders in and out of the dressing room by example. Strudwick's only downside, is that he's not a full time NHL d-man based on skill alone. He makes a great plug-in and his salary is about as cheap as it will get for the Oilers, which makes him somewhat attractive to keep around.


Taylor Chorney, Dean Arsene and Theo Peckham

None are ready for the NHL full time. They did their best when the Oilers were in trouble with injuries and I felt Peckham seemed to improve the most, but they'll be back in the AHL when the new season starts as they should be. Don't fret if you liked these guys because they'll be called upon more than once next season though, which is almost a guarantee since the Oilers can't stay completely injury free.


Where Do the Oilers Go?

One goalie will be moved. The Oilers will do everything to try and trade one knowing that likely JDD or Dubnyk will get claimed if waived and their young age and decent showing might make them attractive to other GM's. If a trade can't be made, I'd keep Dubnyk.

On defence, the Oilers are in love with Dan Hamhuis. No, I don't think they should get into a bidding war, but if they are able to free up cap space by moving salary and taking say 50% of it back, Hamhuis is a great stay at home blueliner who without going nuts might be had for a decent price.

He'll have other bidders though so the Oilers need to be careful. If they can get him though, they shouldn't be afraid to sign him long term as he's a great puzzle peice that you keep as a core of your blueline. Aaron Johnson becomes the odd man out if someone like Hamhuis joins the team.

Souray is gone. While his value may be low, someone like a San Jose or New York Ranger squad might have interest if they can swap salary or looking to replace a big ticket d-man who either retires or doesn't re-sign. If the Oilers aren't able to do this by the draft, I'd be shocked.

Stay tuned, because our next task will be to examine the forwards, which should be a lot more challenging, but a lot more fun.


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Oilers Win, But There's Only One Reason Why It Matters.

The Oilers finally have a reason to celebrate. Sure, it feels a bit odd to rejoice when your team just ended the season in 30th place and one of your superstar defencemen, whom you'd spent too much money on, lambasted your franchise as so many have done before; but every cloud has a silver lining.

A silver lining with an asterik that is.

With the draft in 2010 deep, but far from clear of superstars outside of the top two selections in Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, the Oilers would have been a winner whether they had drafted first or second. Both will yield a potential superstar to the team who drafts them and the Oilers could use the skills of either player.

For all we know, whoever makes the pick for the Oil on June 25th may still not be 100% certain the name they call is the clear cut best option.

What winning the lottery does, is give Edmonton some negotiation power with the Boston Bruins (and only Boston should they not trade that 2nd overall pick to another team prior to the draft). Should Boston have their eye on one of Seguin or Hall in particular and the Oilers are willing to give that player to them for a the right to pick number two, Edmonton could pick up an additional asset, so winning Tuesdays draft lottery is big.

Pretend the Bruins want Taylor Hall with a passion. It would be worth something to them to give an additional prospect or asset to Edmonton in order to draft first and secure Hall as part of the Bruins team. Maybe the trade gets bigger than just draft selections and Boston takes some salary like the officially on the market Sheldon Souray along with the 1st overall pick for the 2nd overall pick and a goal scoring sized RW youngster like Blake Wheeler. Maybe more, the Bruins throw in a later 3rd or 4th round selection.

Perhaps drafting first overall means that much to Beantown. Then again, perhaps the Bruins are just as happy as the Oilers would be with either player.

Whatever the case and whatever names get tossed back and forth between Edmonton and Boston should conversations even take place, the Bruins are the only team the Oilers should consider speaking to and only for the 2nd overall pick plus.

So celebrate all you like that the Oilers won the lottery. It has the potential to make an extremely big difference. I might suggest to do so with cautious optimism as the Bruins may be happy as a pig in (#*# to draft 2nd.

If nothing else, winng something feels good even if the Oilers essentially, had little to lose.


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Souray Speaks...With Some Regret In His Voice

From an audio file on Dan Tencer's blog, I got to listen to some of what Sheldon Souray had to say to the media after dropping the bomb that he wants out.

Much like I posted yesterday might happen, Sheldon rehashed a few things, but slightly back-pedalled in his comments admitting his feelings toward management as a possible moment of weakness on his part.

First of all, from the report by Mark Spector and the comments made today, Souray has yet to outright demand a trade. He simply let everyone know he wants to leave thanks to some poor communication since his arrival and especially over the past two months. That's he's more disappointed in what he thought it would mean to be an Oiler than anything else.

Souray did respond that if a trade isn't completed or not possible based on what's best for the team, he would return. "It's not like I won't come back here." Souray said. "September is a long time away and I'm still currently under contract".

That is an attitude which is a far cry from the tone of Spector's article, which made Souray out to be a man possessed to hurt management and the organization to get him on the first boat to another destination.

Does Souray still want out? Yes. Are the Oilers already planning to try and move him? Sure. But more and more, this is starting to sound like a player who was having somewhat of a tantrum over how he felt management was mistreating a big time free agent and someone Souray personally felt did more to endear himself than he was given credit for. Souray was probably right.

The problem here was the communication, to which Souray admitted might have been partially his own fault. That he, "is not the type of guy to just call management up and get something off his chest.". And that's too bad, because now, it's as if a couple teenagers were on the verge of a break-up, thought one was going to say one thing, the other something else and instead of talking to each other to find out, posted their moodiness all over facebook. Now of course, whether what each respective party was actually feeling was known by the other or not, the comments have soured the relationship.

A reconciliation is possible, but for sure less likely.

I think what bothered me the most from the audio clip I heard, was the lack of the media to really drill Souray over comments that while possibly fair, have to hurt the team and his teammates going forward.

I didn't hear a "Do you think this helps your trade value? Why would you do this?" or a "Don't you think that your teammates will be hurt by this in the long run based on what the team might now be able to get in return for you when other GM's know you want out?" "Why now? Does this timing have anything to do with your no-trade clause and wanting to pick your destination?" All of those would have been fair questions to ask, yet weren't.

They essentially gave Sheldon a free pass and for someone who made an effort to hurt the Oilers, right or wrong, he should have had to in some way, had to face the music.

In the long term, this changes little for the team, except to continue an increase in the organizations already negative image across the NHL and its players. Souray was going to be shipped if a buyer was available and possibly for little just to move his contract.

The Oilers are in a major rebuild and the other names that are now popping out of the wood works like Hemsky and Penner, were already names the Oilers were and are willing to talk about in trade with other NHL teams. If they're bent out of shape knowing that, Sourays comments won't he.p or hurt the situation.

In the end, this is just a too bad situation. I think from his tone, Souray knows it, from the fact Tambellini, Lowe and Quinn all called Souray immediately following the comments, they know it and the fans know it.

As Souray said, it's a good thing September is in fact a long time away.


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Fans Should Expect a Fireworks Set-up, But a Fizzled Lack of a Show

Tuesday is a big day in franchise history for the Edmonton Oilers. The NHL Lottery draft could solidify Edmonton's spot at the podium first come the June 25th NHL entry draft.

Tuesday is also a day that Sheldon Souray is expected to talk and the Oilers management will spend some time answering the question of how it feels to draft one or two (whichever spot they end up drafting in), but more time answering questions about Souray's sudden distaste for Oilers management.

As I said, it's a big day for the Edmonton Oilers. But don't think for a second, it's as big as some are making it out to be.

In terms of Sheldon Souray, he may repeat what was already said if he's still pissy and feeling mistreated. He may also politely back pedal just a touch knowing his comments are doing more than hurting Oilers management for which they were intended.

Many won't care because for those that find this a real issue, the damage has already been done. Nothing new said will change it. For those that didn't find this an issue, they site Souray's comments as comparable to a guy who quits after getting fired.

The only real interesting issue that might come up is how Souray elaborates on his accusation he was possibly forced to play injured. If he goes that far, it has serious possible reprocussions.

When Oilers management is asked to respond, they'll likely want to say all the things that are on their mind and take the chance to defend their position, but they probably won't. Doing so, would devalue the "asset" in Sheldon Souray more than his coming out and attempting to hurt the Oilers organization more than he already has.

The Oilers will likely express their disappointment in his comments, explain they don't understand the timing, but in turn say very little. Fans will still be forced to wonder if Souray is just venting and not telling the whole truth.

In the draft, we'd all like to see the Oilers draft #1. Their luck suggests someone else winning the lottery, but really, would it make that big a difference if we drafted #2?

No one seems to be able to decide who should go one and who should go two. TSN's ranking has Taylor Hall back on top when just last week Seguin was the favorite by central scouting. The Oilers likely aren't sure, knowing they need both type of players, so having a decision already made isn't the worst problem to have.

The Oilers aren't going to be phased. Both players will be superstars in this league and drafting in the top two, when there are only two real keepers in the draft means for once, the Oilers can't really lose despite what happens.

It's actually kind of nice feeling. One I haven't felt in a while.

The upside? Drafting someone like Taylor Hall who could come in and score 25-30 goals essentially erasing the stench Souray seems to now be leaving in his wake.

I'll be watching tomorrow. But as often happens, I'll be expecting a less dramatic day than it would seem might appear on paper.


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Souray Wants Out. Who's Right and Who's Wrong? The Real Losers In All of This is the Team

This is a picture of a time when Souray was much happier. The recent news in Edmonton suggests we won't see this kind of expression on Souray's face until he's left the Oilers organization.

It isn't a secret, that the plan is to move Souray, and maybe he knows this and is a tad bent out of shape about it, but when he recently talked to reporters, he held nothing back and did little to represent the type of character many fans thought had team captain material written all over it.

"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. "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."

In reference to his injured history as an Oiler,"Maybe they think I’m a black sheep," Souray said. "But it’s not about me — it wouldn’t matter who it happened to. You’d think someone would want to check on the asset, wouldn’t you? "The Oilers always prided themselves in being a family. Whatever happened to that? I haven’t talked to (Tambellini) since mid-January."

Then to add insult to injury, he went to an unspoken place. He brought up an unspoken name. He took the last dig, delivered the last low blow, the worst parting shot he could have probably thought of.

"I still have two years left on my contract. I made a commitment to come here when other guys wouldn’t," he said. "But you talk about Prongs (Chris Pronger) and guys like that, and it should raise an eyebrow when players who leave town are skipping out with a smile on their face."

My thoughts to Souray are this...

These are likely all fair comments. But this is the type of stuff that should have been left on Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini's voice mails instead of supplied to the media for the city, 29 other GM's and a few hundred other players to hear.

Whether management dropped the ball here or not (and they likely did if it's true no one has even bothered to call Souray since mid-January), shut your mouth and keep it behind closed doors. The fans that you say you have so much love for, are now going to turn on you faster than you can imagine and you've essentially put this team in a negative position going forward.

Maybe that was Souray's plan.

Souray described in great detail all of the things he feels management did to him that were out of line, including putting undue pressure on him to play when he wasn't fully recovered from his surgery when joining the team in 2007.

Really? I understand they may have put pressure on you, but no one one forced you, and you know your body better than anyone. Stand up for yourself, the long term benefit of your new team and tell them you aren't ready. Simple as that. Will they be dissappointed? Probably. Even a tad upset? Perhaps. So what.

And why, of all people is the first ears you let listen to your comments be the media? Did it not occur to you to give management a call when they wouldn't call you and give them a piece of your mind? The end result would still be the mutual distaste that now likely exists, but 29 other GM's wouldn't know they can take the Oilers to school on a trade.

My thoughts to management are this...

What the heck are they thinking? How many times does this have to happen before you do what needs to be done to keep players happy?

How hard is a phone call? It's likely a bit tougher now that every dialed number requiers you enter an area code, but c'mon. How many times did we hear Tambellini say there wasn't much action during certain points of the season? Maybe, Steve and Kevin, while your playing with your thumb up your @$$, you can take 5 minutes to make a phone call.

This sounds almost like a case of teenage jealousy. That this is as simple as Souray is unloved. Call it being a baby, call it feeling left-out, but if a simple acknowledgement that one of your top players is still important and all it will take, get off your high horse, don't leave everything to your training staff and do what is priceless in terms of team morale and phone one of your top assets.

Unless Souray is not telling the whole truth, which of course is always possible when your bent out of shape as Souray obviously is, the Oilers will now have to back pedal, do extra work and try extra hard to get fair return for a player they were hoping to unload by this years draft.

Good on ya Oilers for putting your team, your staff and your fans through all of this again. This is far too many times now, for this simply to be a coincidence.


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