Oilers receive more criticism for barring Sheldon Souray from training camp

Thumbnail image for oilersgmtambellini.jpgPerhaps the most surprising news of this week came when the Edmonton Oilers announced that wayward defenseman Sheldon Souray would not attend training camp. Apparently we’re not alone in wondering how, exactly, such a move will make it easier to trade the useful but injury-ravaged blueliner.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson feels the same way, pointing out that a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets (one team in need of a point man with a rocket shot like Souray’s) would be much more willing to give Souray a try if he was ready to go right away, a possibility that is much more limited if Souray isn’t attending training camp.

Isn’t it considerably easier to trade an asset who’s in an NHL jersey, playing games, especially one with the checkered injury past of Souray, than it is when that player is gathering dust and skating with, say, the University of Alberta Golden Bears during training camp?

NHL teams want to see if Souray is not only productive with the puck on his stick, but healthy, don’t they? The Columbus Blue Jackets could seriously use his bazooka from the point, in concert with speedy playmaker Kris Russell on the power play.

But for general manager Scott Howson’s intrigue to move to solid interest, you would think he would want to see Souray on the ice if he hasn’t been in a game since breaking his hand in a fight with Jarome Iginla nine months ago.

Not only that, but if the season starts and it’s November and a team gets antsy for an offensive guy, aren’t they going to be less gung-ho for a trade if they’re going for a player who needs to feel his way into games because he’s had none in camp, or early in the season?

Absolutely, on both counts.

Thumbnail image for sweatysheldonsouray.jpgMatheson interviewed an NHL agent who made a great analogy. Keeping Souray out of training camp is like putting up a house up for sale but stating that it needs major renovations.

I can see the logic in wanting to “stand their ground,” but I doubt that Souray would be such a cancer that he’d infect the culture of the team and poison newcomers such as Taylor Hall. He’s not an outright necessity on a team that has some decent potential point producing defenseman including Tom Gilbert and turnover machine Ryan Whitney, but would it hurt to have a guy with some skill like him anyway?

The Oilers are resolute in making this decision, but they better be prepared to deal with the fall-out that comes with it. Their options probably boil down to paying Souray to $4.5 million to play in the AHL (according to CapGeek.com), trading him for negligible value or even wasting cap space and money by letting another team claim him on re-entry waivers. They aren’t in a great position either way, but now it seems like they’ve traded an uphill battle for climbing up a mountain.

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    WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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    Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

    We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

    Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

    Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


    Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


    Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

    Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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    Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

    The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

    In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

    This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

    The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

    This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


    Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

    Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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    The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

    Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

    With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

    If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

    Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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    The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

    Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

    In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

    But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

    But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

    Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

    As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

    On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season: