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.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.
Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.
Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.
The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.
Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.
After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.
Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.
MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.
But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.
“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”
Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.
“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”
Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.
Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.
Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.
SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.
Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.
The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.
Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.
Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.