Recently several Oiler fans have posted the following (or something close) on the internet: “can’t the Oilers just forget about whatever happened and welcome Souray back to the fold?”
I understand the sentiment. A quality organization should be able to see beyond a few comments to a reporter and realize the player fills an enormous need (Sheldon Souray has injury and coverage issues, but he would be a welcome addition to the current blueline depth chart).
And yet the words still ring in the ears of powerful men.
- “It’s not a players thing. It’s not a fans thing or a city thing. It’s a management thing.”
- “Management has soured on me, and I’ve soured on them.
- “I got challenged by management on the very first day of my first training camp. The very first day. 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.”
- “I’ve had the experience of playing in great organizations (in New Jersey and Montreal), and experienced a vastly different approach to things like that. I was a captain in Montreal. I never had my character questioned there, or in New Jersey. I feel that’s all I’ve had since I’ve been here.’”
The original, brilliant article is here. Mark Spector also does an excellent job of summing things up with Gene Principe (video on the link). Spector suggests the big problem is marrying the injury history to all that money, and that other GMs are going to be hesitant to trade for him. These months later, those words are still true.
I think it comes down to this: Sheldon Souray is either going to have to make a statement of some sort (as in “I was frustrated with my injuries and in a moment of weakness…”) to frame the issue in a more positive light or the club is going to ask him to stay away until they can deal him.
Can Souray help this team? Of course he can. He’s an NHL veteran with a cannon from the point, good size and a mean streak. But I can’t see the organization starting the Taylor Hall “Boys on the Bus 2.0″ era with the kind of distraction that the words above will no doubt inspire.
I think a lot of people (given the same circumstances) would keep Souray away from the cameras and the microphones and the future. A difficult situation.