Just minutes after Tom Renney was named as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Sheldon Souray was hanging around at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas when he got the news. He had just finished up his poker game at the NHL Charity Shootout.
“It doesn’t change much,” Souray said about the changes in Edmonton. “He’s been doing a lot of the X’s and O’s and running a lot of meetings and stuff like that. I think it’s a natural progression. It’s not much different.”
There have been rumors floating around since last season that Souray wanted a trade out of Edmonton. When asked if the rumors were true, he responded in the affirmative.
“Yep,” he said. “We’ll see what happens here over the next few days. They have some decisions to make. They’ve got a lot on their plates. They’ll [work] things out.
“My focus is on being ready this summer…training…making sure that I’m healthy and get ready to have a great year wherever that may be. My contract’s with them right now and if that’s where I go back to, so be it. My focus right now is to make sure I’m ready and being healthy.”
“It doesn’t really matter,” he said of staying in the Western Conference. “I definitely have preferences. I’m starting to get a little older. The opportunities start coming by a lot less. It would be exciting to get on a team that’s competitive and has a chance to win, wherever that is we’ll see.”
So what about the Devils?
“The Devils? The Devils?” he said with a smile on his face.
Just the name alone had Souray talking about the biggest thing to happen in the past few days for his old club: Jason Arnott’s trade to the New Jersey Devils.
“You know, I just talked to Jason Arnott the day before as well. I know he’s really excited to go back there. They are such a great organization and they’re very loyal with their players. I mean you look at some of the players they bring back whether it’s John MacLean as a coach, or Brian Rolston or Bobby Holik. I mean the list just goes on and on.”
“I think they have some great guys that are great players and have great character, like a lot of those guys that come back and Lou [Lamoriello] loves that. It’s one thing to have talent. It’s really so important to have guys who are leaders…good leaders. Positive guys in the room. A lot of those guys they brought back have won there. It’s a great organization.
“Lou is not one of those GMs that sits by and watches what other guys do. He tries to make his team as good as it can be. We’ll see what happens.”
Souray could be the icing on the cake for the Devils in what looks like one last major run for the Cup before Martin Brodeur says “Au Revoir.” Only time will tell what will happen to Souray over the summer. If he gets his wish, he will not be an Edmonton Oiler anymore.