The Sheldon Souray saga took an interesting twist Monday evening as Edmonton Oilers' general manager Steve Tambellini issued a statement letting the media know that the disgruntled defenceman was not welcome at camp.
"We've been trying to move the player for some time obviously," Tambellini explained to reporters at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. "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."
The team called Souray's agent, Paul Theofanous, this past Friday to inform him that they were considering this tactic.
At that time, Theofanous asked for the decision in writing and Monday afternoon he received an email from the Oilers stating that the team did not want Souray to attend training camp and asked that he standby for further instructions as to where and when he should report.
"We didn't receive anything in writing until yesterday evening," agent Paul Theofanous told The Canadian Press Tuesday morning from New York. "I made it clear. I had specifically asked for that and if not, he would report as per his standard player contract."
Souray told TSN he remains very positive about his playing future.
"Nothing really surprises me, but I've prepared all summer...that has been my focus, to be ready for camp, ready to report and help my team and help myself," Souray told TSN.
"Things happen, I guess, however as a professional and a proud guy, I wanted to be part of all of the positive things that are happening around the team right now. My focus was to come in here and be a pro. There never would have been any distraction from my end," Souray added.
Souray was skating in Edmonton informally this week with members of the Oilers and said that he intends on continuing to do so for the next few days.
Shawn Horcoff, the longest serving Oiler with former captain Ethan Moreau and defenceman Steve Staios gone, skated with Souray on Tuesday.
"He's a good guy and a it's a tough situation," said Horcoff to The Canadian Press. "Management has made their decision. It's not really up to the players. We don't have a say in any of that. It's really out of our hands.
"I think both sides are probably frustrated that it's gone this far. What are you going to do? That's where it's at. For us, as players, there's nothing we can really do to make anything happen with either side."
The controversy stems from the 34-year old's decision to go public with his criticism of the team back in April, stating that he felt as though he had been mistreated by the organization by being forced to play before he had completely recovered from a shoulder injury. He also demanded a trade.
The Oilers responded by shopping the 11-year veteran who missed more than half the season with a broken hand and concussion issues, around the league. When there were no suitable deals to be found, the team placed Souray on waivers in the hope that someone would take the two-years and $9 million remaining on his contract off their hands. Once again they came up empty and with the latest announcement it appears as though the two sides are headed towards a very nasty and very public divorce. Regardless, this story is far from over as the Oilers continue to prepare for the upcoming season.