In case you didn’t hear last night’s startling news, the Edmonton Oilers told expensive defenseman turned highly publicized trade bait Sheldon Souray to stay away from their training camp this summer.
The decision was surprising to just about anyone outside of the Oilers organization, including Souray. Here is what the beleaguered blueliner told the Edmonton Journal.
Tambellini not only doesn’t want Souray in training camp, he also made it clear that the defenceman will not be in an Oilers jersey at any point this season.
“Master of the obvious … I guess they don’t want this to be a distraction,” said Souray, who voiced his displeasure with management at the end of last season and said he wanted to be traded.
“I wouldn’t be a distraction … I was planning on coming in, planning on being focused and ready to do whatever to be a professional,” said Souray, who is back in town skating with the other Oilers at Kinsmen Arena.
On one hand, I commend the Oilers for standing their ground and for avoiding the disingenuous practice of acting like the trade requests and negative feelings never existed. The team clearly wants to change from the culture that helped produce an absolutely disastrous 2009-10 season in which Edmonton was far and away the worst team in the NHL.
The thing is, if GM Steve Tambellini struggled to find decent trade value for Souray during the summer, how exactly is he going to find a good market now that every general manager knows that the 34-year-old defenseman will absolutely not play a second for the Oilers this season?
This reminds me of the predicament the Chicago Blackhawks were in when they needed to move Dustin Byfuglien for salary cap reasons, with four obvious caveats: Byfuglien is young, didn’t deal with injury problems, is far less expensive and has the musk of victory rather than the stink of defeat attached to his name like Souray.
Edmonton is in a tough spot when it comes to moving Souray, but with the near-callous way they are acting right now, it’s difficult to feel much empathy for them. Souray begins to look like a bit of a victim – albeit a well compensated one – as this situation drags on.
The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.
“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”
Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.
PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.
Alex Ovechkin scored to join Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as only players with at least 30 goals in each of their first 11 NHL seasons, and Matt Niskanen netted the game winner as Washington beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon on Super Bowl Sunday.
Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz replied for the Flyers, who suffered their second straight loss.
The win was the Capitals’ third in a row.
It didn’t always look as though Washington would emerge the victor, however. The Caps were out-shot 35-30 on the day and looked disjointed at times, finishing with 12 giveaways (Philly was credited with just five, for comparison’s sake).
But good teams find ways to win when they’re not playing especially well, and the Caps are a pretty good team — especially when Braden Holtby is on his game.
Holtby, atop many Vezina lists at the moment, had another terrific outing on Sunday, making 33 saves, perhaps none better than this one on Mark Streit in the second period:
Holtby’s counterpart, Steve Mason, had a solid outing as well, finishing with 27 stops.
Looking ahead, the Caps will now head out on a three-game Western Conference swing through Minnesota, Nashville and what promises to be a high-octane game in Dallas on Feb. 13.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will now kick off a three-game homestand against Anaheim, Buffalo and New Jersey.