by Lisa McRitchie on 02/28/13 at 01:00 AM ET
It’s a different defenceman, but the same story. The Edmonton Oilers, who can’t really afford to run veteran top 4 defencemen out of town seem to be doing just that. Sheldon Souray was the most recent defenceman to have a public dispute with the team, was then subsequently sent to the AHL. Could the same thing happen with Ryan Whitney?
When Souray was sent to the AHL, it was not even with the Oilers’ affiliate team, but rather to the Hershey Bears. A team Souray played out nearly all of his remaining contract years with. In the end, the Oilers bought out Souray’s contract, with many thinking he must be washed out, and unable to play in the NHL anymore. After all, teams looked but no one bit while Souray was in the AHL and available at a reduced salary. But as we all know, Souray found another contract, and doesn’t appear to be having any issues with his play at all.
So what about Ryan Whitney? Whitney certainly isn’t doing the Oilers any good from the pressbox, but he wasn’t exactly playing his best while in the lineup. And when asked in the media scrums after being scratched for the third time in 5 games, Whitney didn’t try to cover his unhappiness at not being in the lineup. But nothing has been reported since, and Whitney has been scratched 6 times this season, a number that is sure to go up.
If Whitney isn’t playing well enough to play on the Oilers’ team doesn’t bode well for his trade value. But neither does have him sitting in the pressbox. And then there is the possibility that the issue stems more from something in the dressing room than the ice.
Still, you have to the think that the Oilers are trying to trade Whitney, and that no other team is interested.
Perhaps the price the Oilers’ are asking is just too high. Perhaps the Oilers are going to have to settle for very little if they decide they absolutely have to move the veteral dman.
But how could Whitney be washed up and unable to play in the NHL anymore, and so suddenly?
And of course, how is it that this should happen again to the Oilers? Wasn’t Souray enough?
When Whitney first came to the Oilers, he had bounced through a few teams, and rumours said that he carried with him an attitude problem. Going into this season, Whitney spoke candidly about a conversation had with Coach Ralph Kreuger concerning Whitney’s attitude. Whitney indicated that he was ready to approach this season with a winning, positive attitude. Likely, that just hasn’t happened.
So if the Oilers aren’t playing Whitney because of his attitude, they’re going to have an even tougher time trying to move him to another team. By playing Whitney though, they give in and have to accept or deal with the attitude or locker room issue.
But then again, this is just speculation. It could be that Whitney’s feet are still bothering him despite corrective surgery. At this point, it's all just speculation, no one is talking anymore.
After losing Chris Pronger and Sheldon Souray and with very negative public partings, the Oilers really can't afford the bad PR again, no matter how promising their young and skilled up and comers are. Whatever the issue with the Whitney is, they need to make it right. They need to get Whitney playing if they intend to move him. They need to play him if they intend to keep him. They need to do something.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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