Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sheldon Souray: Not in the Habs' Plan

No matter how impressive Sheldon Souray's offencive stats from the previous season are, Bob Gainey left him with the feeling that he no longer had his place in Montreal.

It's official now. Sheldon Souray is now a former player of the Montreal Canadiens. This defence man just got traded to the Edmonton Oilers and he signed a $27 million contract of 5 years.

Souray will earn $6.5 million for the first two years of the contract, which include a bonus of $1.5 million per season, according to the Journal de Montréal's edition of yesterday. In addition to that, he'll earn $5.5 million in the third year and $4.5 million for the last two seasons spent with the Oilers.

During all the time, we could almost tell that the Montreal Canadiens, through its general manager Bob Gainey, didn't show any interest for Sheldon Souray. In fact, if the Habs was so interested to keep him, wouldn't it be logical if they've made an offer earlier? In fact, Gainey did a four years offer worth $22 million to Souray on July 1rst, which is quite late. The next thing we know is that Souray refuses it the other day.

Of course, Souray did participate to All-Star games. He has the hardest slap shot in the league. Besides, let's remember that during the last season, he scored 26 goals and made 64 points, which constitutes his personal record in the National Hockey League (NHL). These facts could have forced Bob Gainey to negotiate a deal with Souray, right?

Strange though it might sound, the Montreal Canadiens' general manager didn't seem to be impressed by these numbers, because they don't reflect what you really see on the ice.

No matter how impressive Sheldon Souray's offencive stats from the previous season are, Bob Gainey left him with the feeling that he no longer had his place in Montreal. All we can say is that Gainey hasn't shown any form of subtlety over the last few months since the end of the hockey season. That leads us to the central question: why did Gainey take so much time to make an offer to a player who was one of the Habs' best scorers?

It's as simple as that: Bob Gainey didn't consider Souray as one of the Montreal Canadiens' best defence men. That explains why he spent all the time negotiating with defence man Andrei Markov. Despite not being a big scorer like Souray, Markov is more competent than him in defence. During the last two seasons, Andrei Markov got a positive differential of +13 and +2.

That explains us why Souray often got deked and he has allowed many goals to be scored. That can be seen in his regression, defensively speaking. Three years ago, he finished his 63 games season with a differential of +4. The next year, it gets at -11. Last year, what was Souray's differential? It was - and you clearly read it! - at -28. All in all, Gainey has been negotiating with Andrei Markov, because if these negotiations fail, Gainey could turn to Souray, who was viewed as a sort of plan B.

Moreover, moving to Edmonton was probably the best decision for Sheldon Souray, because playing for the Edmonton Oilers has always been a childhood dream for him. After all, remember that he's born in Elk Point, Alberta. Obviously, this should help him to be closer to his wife who lives in California. As opposed to the Habs, which is a team from the NHL's Eastern conference, the Edmonton Oilers play more often against teams from the American West Coast.


On an another note, did you hear about a news saying that a judge from Toronto ruled Canada's pot possessions laws "unconstitutional"? Apparently, the Canadian government just contradicts itself through the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations (a policy implemented by Health Canada in 2001) when it comes to dealing with issues on possession of marijuana and this can be used as a defence arguments by those who extol the legalization of some drugs. Let's make it very clear: this kind of drug is not to be legalized! Let's assume that there are other alternatives to marijuana or pot, or anything like these.

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