Oilers tell D Souray he isn't welcome
The testy relationship between the Edmonton Oilers and Sheldon Souray has gotten worse as the star defenseman has been told to stay away from training camp.
Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini responded Monday night to reports earlier in the day that Souray, who requested a trade last season, had softened his stance and planned to attend camp, which opens Friday.
''There's no misunderstanding. We're very clear,'' Tambellini told reporters at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, British Columbia. ''That's why we're speaking today to the fact that he will not be attending camp.''
Souray, 34, missed 45 games last season because of a concussion and broken right hand sustained during a fight with Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
In addition to the trade request, Souray accused management of pressuring him to come back from offseason shoulder surgery before he was ready to play at the start of the 2007-08 season. Tambellini has called the accusation ''demonstrably untrue.''
Souray is entering the fourth season of a five-year contract worth $27 million.
''We've been trying to move the player for some time, obviously,'' Tambellini said. ''Sheldon has expressed strong interest over a long period of time that it's best for him to move and we're going to try and help him with that. I couldn't get that done prior to this camp.
''I hope to get it done during camp, but it's best for the Oilers for him not to be at camp right now.''
Tambellini said he told agent Paul Theofanous last week that Souray wasn't welcome at camp. Theofanous didn't immediately reply to a voice message or e-mail from The Canadian Press.
Souray missed 58 games in the 2007-08 season after he reinjured his surgically repaired shoulder in a fight with Vancouver's Byron Ritchie. He played 81 games in the 2008-09 season, registering 23 goals and 53 points.
After trying unsuccessfully over the summer to move Souray and the $9 million remaining on his contract, Tambellini placed him on waivers.
Tambellini didn't believe that bringing Souray to camp and allowing him to demonstrate his fitness would make it easier to move the 6-foot-4, 223-pound defenseman to another team.
''I don't think that's going to make a difference,'' Tambellini said. ''All reports are that he's healthy. I understand he's been in Edmonton for a couple of days training, so I don't think that's going to be an issue.''
When asked if there were any overtures Souray could make to get back in the Oilers' good graces, Tambellini replied: ''No, we're sticking with our plan.''