GDB 21: Garon rides the pine

Jason Gregor
November 26 2008 01:46PM

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. Craig MacTavish has lost confidence in Mathieu Garon. In a move that shocked most, Dwayne Roloson will be starting tonight, not Garon, against the Kings.

Why you ask?

I have no idea. This move doesn’t make sense on any level. Roloson got pulled his last time out, and while Garon didn’t look comfortable for the first ten minutes in relief, he did look much better as game wore on.

The Oilers had four days of practice, Garon got to see more rubber than he had in the previous weeks, he looked and acted more comfortable and even he gave the impression he expected to start tonight against his former team.

But there was Roloson, first off at practice, and talking openly about starting tonight.

At the start of MacTavish’s press conference today, he was asked about Garon, but said he didn’t want to talk about the goalies before the game. Later in presser when pushed on it again he spoke about it.

“In talking to Pete about Mathieu he says his game in coming along in practice. It’s not just about the game, it’s about how Pete sees them (three goalies) coming along in practice. Matty’s game is coming around and based on practice he will get a start very soon.”

This move is more about just whether Roloson is better than Garon. MacTavish has lost confidence in Garon, and it sounds like goaltending coach Pete Peeters isn’t on the same page as Garon.

It was well-documented last season that Peeters wasn’t enamoured with Garon working with another goaltending consultant, Lyle Mast. Garon enjoyed working with Mast, and sources have hinted that #32 is no longer allowed to work with him.

If that is indeed the case, then Garon’s not playing could be based on more than just stopping pucks.

There is clearly something fishy about this situation.

Garon was great in his first three starts, and then average to below-average in the four since, but he wasn’t awful in relief against the Wings. And it’s not like Roloson was outstanding in his past few starts. He was okay, but not so great that you wouldn’t consider going with Garon.

Many wonder if the Oilers are showcasing Roloson, or plan on doing the same with Garon when, or if, he gets another start. So I asked MacTavish if he ever takes that angle when considering who will be his starter.

“I’m not a fortune teller. It's incumbent on the player to get in there and play well, if he wants continue to play. That's the simple part of it. When the goalies get and play well, like Mathieu did earlier, Jeff did in the middle, and how Rollie has done now. I go by what I see in practice and in the games; it's as simple as that.”

Based on those comments Garon must not be practicing well, because he has only played 48 minutes since Nov 7th.

Rarely do I second guess a lot of moves a coach makes, because I don’t think I know more than him, but in this case I’m scratching my head.

All the signs pointed to starting Garon. He allowed one goal in 25 shots versus Detroit. He had four days of practice, he was playing his former team, and he hasn’t had a start since November 6th, but he will be watching again.

Coaches get paid to win, so if the Oilers win tonight, MacTavish can feel confident in his decision. But this decision has many more negatives possibilities than it does positive ones.

The only positive is a win.

A lose opens him up to loads of criticism, and justified criticism in this case. It leaves Garon wondering more than ever where he fits on this team. It also hurts the team down the road. They need to clarify their goaltending situation sooner than later, and hopefully find a solution that ends what has become a five-year search for a true #1 goalie.

Win or lose tonight, not starting Garon looks wrong.

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. on the TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 01:55PM
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Good Lord, Craig MacTavish has lost his marbles. How on Gregor's green earth does Garon not get the start? Whatever happened to him being our #1? I would consider this a larger slap in the face than what MacT did with Penner. At least Penner only sat for 2 games. It's becoming more clear why UFAs don't want to come to Edmonton. It's not because of the cold, the night life, or the media. It's the coach. Way to lose another player in the dressing room, MacT, only 20 or so more to go.

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#2 pdan
November 26 2008, 02:04PM
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Agreed, baggedmilk. He's killin' us, here. Is there anyway we can sit MacT for a while and go with Huddy as the head coach for 3 weeks?

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#3 The Towel Boy
November 26 2008, 02:06PM
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Who saw this coming?

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#4 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 02:08PM
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Chances of Garon resigning with the Oilers under MacTavish regime? 0%

Another player with potential run out of town to keep the old balls player happy. AWESOME!

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#5 pdan
November 26 2008, 02:14PM
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I wish/hope that Katz reads this blog.

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#6 BigCap
November 26 2008, 02:14PM
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JDD- With wins in the 1.Saddledome 2.Jersey 3.MSG - What more does he have to do?? Tell me the last time an Oiler tender had wins in those rinks in the same season...let alone in the first 4 starts of their career!??!? MacT is rattled and picking the sure bet. Roli is a stop gap, and not in our long term plans!! Garon and JDD should be splitting the load and building towards the future!!! GO OIL GO!!

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#7 Geoff
November 26 2008, 02:15PM
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20 or so more to go baggedmilk? I think he's lost a lot more than 2 or 3 guys already.

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#8 Oilerdago
November 26 2008, 02:18PM
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This rotation of players - from forwards playing out of position - to defensemen playing as forwards - and now this with Garon is just getting out of control. Someone needs to stop the nonesense.

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#9 RobinB
November 26 2008, 02:20PM
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Maybe MacT is letting Garon rest up so he's fresh for his debut as the fourth-line left winger against St. Louis Saturday.

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#10 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 02:23PM
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Remember when we played Novice hockey, or tim bits hockey, or whatever the hell level you started playing at, and everyone got a turn at every position? I hear that Strudwick is going to have a go in net on Saturday, and JDD is going to play third line center.

I'm all for finding the right combination that works, but, come on. If the lines/goalies are still this scattered at the all star break don't be surprised if we see Kay-Z parachute in from the roof, pull MacT's pants down at center ice, and give him a full on spanking in front of everyone.

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#11 Rick
November 26 2008, 02:24PM
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baggedmilk Says: November 26th, 2008 at 2:08 pm Chances of Garon resigning with the Oilers under MacTavish regime? 0%

...

I agree that the way things are shaking out is strange but in looking ahead I wonder if Garon not signing here isn't the option we should hope for.

We're talking about committing money and most importantly term to a starting goaltender and despite the flashes Garon has shown he is far from proven and even if he was we are still left looking at a guy that would probably rank in 15-25 range league wide.

I don't know who the answer is but it would sure be nice if the Oilers solved friggin position once and for all.

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#12 JB
November 26 2008, 02:28PM
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This is total bunk. MacT sure knows how to turn chicken salad into chicken shit. Next year will be inspiring when the goaltending tandem is something like JDD and a "choice" free agent signing like Martin Gerber. No goalie in his right mind would come here as a FA unless he received about double any other offer. This season is going down the dumper in front of our eyes. Can we have a new coach yet?

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#13 |\|0081?|\|þ®1|\|(355
November 26 2008, 02:29PM
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Garon + penner and Gagner for kovalchuk and pavec...

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#14 The Towel Boy
November 26 2008, 02:31PM
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I don’t know who the answer is but it would sure be nice if the Oilers solved friggin position once and for all.

...fine...I'll play net.

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#15 Dustan
November 26 2008, 02:38PM
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This is getting embarrassing. What players would want to come here after seeing how certain players are treated. This is ridiculous. As a season ticket holder since '79 I will stand up at the next luncheon and demand that MacTavish be fired for this absolute ignorance. I might not get that chance though, as the Oilers now treat their season ticket holders like garbage and don't have the luncheons anymore.

How has Garon performed under Peter's guidance? What does it say about an organization that stops a player from working with people he's comfortable with? What does it say about Peter's character when he acts like a jealous ass? For the record Pete Peters SUCKED as a goalie - and sucks even more as a coach.

I don't even know if I can put my jersey on tonight as I'm becoming ashamed of what this team has become under Lowe, MacT and Co.

Katz needs to stop being such a jock sniffer and lay down the law.

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#16 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 02:40PM
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Robin: I heard Garon was a real sniper during his days in the Q.

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#17 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 02:41PM
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Question for everyone...

Which happens first?

a)Garon gets a start b)Claude Lemieux wins another Conn Smythe c)Mike Peca has his underbite fixed

Annnnndddd GO!

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#18 Bruthah
November 26 2008, 02:43PM
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Hey BM, how about this idea.... we trade for Turco, move him up to play with Hemmer, since he does that drill in warmup to put a puck through the camera holes in the glass in the corners.

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#19 Reggie
November 26 2008, 02:43PM
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Another perfect example of maybe the problem here is the coach. Another start for Roli makes no sense.

Maybe if Roli gets yanked again today MacT's hand will be forced.

Very disappointing.

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#20 |\|0081?|\|þ®1|\|(355
November 26 2008, 02:44PM
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If luongo wanted to have his own goalie coach, which I am sure he does, whomever the team is they would surely not oppose. If a goalie feels comfortable only under their own coach they should be allowed the right. I didnt know this was the case with Oil; it almost seems as if the writing is on the wall for Garon: "Thank you, but no need to think about being here for the long-term." It seems the oil are impressed by what he did last year and obviously wanted him to come here and play back up, but were not ever or even will to think of his as a Number 1. It surely looks like we will be looking to free agency this summer and most likely looking or a goalie early in the draft. Devan Dubnyk seems to have picked up his game greatly this year too. I have a feeling roloson might not be the one traded this year.

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#21 Me
November 26 2008, 02:44PM
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Bye bye Garon.....

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#22 Done With MacT
November 26 2008, 02:48PM
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I want to punch MacT in the brain. I wonder how many player are shaking their heads right now in total amazement that this bag of crap is still their coach.

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#23 Dennis
November 26 2008, 02:50PM
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RB: that was nice a barb! Well played played:)

Jason: nice work on the reveal with the outside netminding coach. That's the first time I've seen that in print and it probably tells us all we need to know.

The last thing I'll throw out there is since when did Pete Peeters deserve the keys to any decision making machinery?

It seems out and out nuts that Peeters has now taken Garon out of starting two games; tonight's and then the last game at Colu.

Not only is this fishy, it's also weird and frustrating.

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#24 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 02:53PM
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I can't wait until the only goalie we can get to sign here in the summer is either a) Roloson and Katz pays his contract in arthritis meds or b) a goalie like Gerber.

WOOO...

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#25 Tim S
November 26 2008, 02:56PM
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I mean Pete Peters has obviously done wonders with the goalies. Roloson was terrible last year, Garon was good last year dealing with a different coach, Roloson was bad the year before, Conklin and Markannen were bad the year before that.

I am really at a loss for words. I have not cheered against the Oilers but I truly hope they get pummeled tonight.

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#26 |\|0081?|\|þ®1|\|(355
November 26 2008, 02:56PM
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Gerber to edmonton as a FA - woo :(

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#27 Dennis
November 26 2008, 02:58PM
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Pete Peeters seems like a guy who deserves a throttling and Gregor and Brownlee may get one as well if they don't stop being as funny and/or truthful and revealing as they've been in this thread:)

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#28 Braden
November 26 2008, 03:00PM
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I can't remember 100% but I think the same thing happened to Ray Emery. Ottawa fired the goaltending coach and brought over Gerber's old goaltending coach. He tried to turn an athletic Ray Emery into a stand up goalie that just looks big and the rest is history.

I wonder how Tiger Woods would perform if his coach was Jim Furyk.

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#29 Bruthah
November 26 2008, 03:02PM
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Anybody know how long Peters has been the goalie coach? Like back into the days of Salo? Cujo?

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#30 OregonStateFan
November 26 2008, 03:02PM
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Dustan:

Aside from your oddly spelled name, just how badly did Pete Peters suck as a goalie?

1982/83: The Bruins acquire goaltender Pete Peters, who wins the Vezina Trophy while posting a 9-game winning streak and a 31-game undefeated streak with 26 wins, as the Bruins finish with a league best 50-20-10 record. In the playoffs the Bruins would oust the Quebec Nordiques in a 4 games. However in the Adams Division Finals the Bruins would be pushed to the limit by the Buffalo Sabres before winning Game 7 in overtime. However, in the Wales Conference Finals the Bruins would be sent away by the New York Islanders in 6 games. That year, which was Peeters' first with Boston, he posted a 40-11-9 record with 2.34 GAA. He led the NHL in wins, average and shutouts (8). He was also named to the All-Star team as the top goaltender

Oh RIGHT! Vesna trophy sucky! Peters did nothing to improve Tommy Salo when he came to town too, right (pre-Belarus meltdown)? RIGHT?

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#31 Jonathan Willis
November 26 2008, 03:04PM
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Jason: I'll second Dennis' comment about the goalie coach - that's great information and very appreciated.

Here are the Oilers goaltending numbers on the season:

Deslauriers: 3-1-0, 2.44 GAA, .927 SV% Roloson: 3-3-2, 3.02 GAA, .913 SV% Garon: 3-5-0, 3.41 GAA, .889 SV%

MacTavish's preference for Roloson seems glaringly obvious to me, and I think he decided Roli was going to have a shot at the number one job again this season, so the first chance he got he decided to roll with Roloson.

Personally, I think that's silly, since Roloson isn't going to be the starter next year and Garon could be (or possibly at this point "could have been"). On the other hand, it isn't like Roloson hasn't given him reason for confidence so far, and if his play continues MacTavish is going to look just fine for going with Roli.

Seems pretty clear to me that one of the three needs to go - even Garon, who has the worst numbers of the bunch, deserves better than he's been getting. The strong play of Jeff Deslauriers has really made this a three horse race and that isn't good for any of them.

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#32 milli
November 26 2008, 03:08PM
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Fire CracT. PERIOD. Is Laddy still playing wing? You know, for along time, I stood by and thought he deserved time. But WTF???? Garon is the NUMBER 1 GUY for what 3 games? Now, I will not blame this on Roli, who is clearly CracT guy, BUT I WILL BLAME KLO, TAMBY AND CRACT.....TRADE OR WAIVE A GOALIE. by the time these morons get this sorted out.....I'm gonna be broke and we're gonna finish 9th....just like last year. If this idiot had of made Garon the number 1 last year, when everyone in the free world could tell he was on fire, and that Roli had lost it....WE ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS. How much longer????? How much longer Klo??? How much longer Tamby??? How much longer Billionaire Kz...that said things would happen fast once he ran the team...

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#33 Greg MC
November 26 2008, 03:14PM
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MacT has the last word on who is playing. Change the coach now!

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#34 Smokin' Ray Burnt
November 26 2008, 03:16PM
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Maybe i'm crazy but... they must have a reason not to start Garon. He must be (doing/saying) something to keep riding the pine. I for one don't really care who is in net. So to be honest who gives a rat's ass on who plays tonight. Really this must be a decoy for the crappy play of the forwards. We need to score. That's what the team needs.

Besides, Roli is a great goalie except for the 5 hole. By far his weakest spot. 2 goals tonight will be scored 5 hole on Roli.

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#35 Braden
November 26 2008, 03:17PM
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Remember that MacTavish is the same coach who after finally announcing to the media after Garon stole numerous game that "Garon is the #1", went and played Roli 3 out of he next 4 games. MacTavish handles goalies about as well as Ally McBeal can handle mandingo.

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#36 Smokin' Ray Burnt
November 26 2008, 03:19PM
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Oh...

With the strong play of JDD. I can see him getting the shot at #1 next season. And I think he will be a great goalie down the road.

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#37 Jonathan Willis
November 26 2008, 03:19PM
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Braden:

Didn't that happen after Garon was injured, though? That's the only time I can remember in the second half where MacTavish rolled with Roloson.

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#38 Braden
November 26 2008, 03:30PM
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Jonathan: No, it was earlier in the season. January 17th is around when MacTavish said Garon is his number 1 and then played Roli 3 of the next 4. Long before Garon's injury.

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#39 Braden
November 26 2008, 03:41PM
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MacTavish said around Janurary 15th that "Garon is my # 1 goalie."

Then started Roli

January 17 January 20 January 22

It was funny because all the fans were saying since MONTHS earlier that Garon should be the #1 and then when MacTavish finally came out and said it to the media he went against his word and played Roli 3 of the next 4.

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#40 shakey
November 26 2008, 03:41PM
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If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. The fans have has lost confidence in Craig MacTavish. Story at 11:00

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#41 Jonathan Willis
November 26 2008, 03:46PM
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Fair enough, Braden. Thanks.

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#42 Jason
November 26 2008, 03:46PM
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The term is Mactarded. That's what this is....

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#43 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 03:48PM
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Great Scott, by the looks of this I'm going to have to clear some room on the "Fire MacT Bandwagon." Heaven forbid they lose tonight or I have some Caravans, Aerostars, and panel vans to rob.

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#44 The Towel Boy
November 26 2008, 03:56PM
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BM: There certainly is a large amount of pitch fork & torch weilding folks around here today.

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#45 Chris
November 26 2008, 04:08PM
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There is clearly a pecking order in that dressing room and it's not entirely based on performance. I disagree with the way Garon has been handled. (It must be a personality thing) I disagree with the way Penner has been treated. (Definately a personality thing) Last year MacT backed Stortini at every turn. (Because he had helped run Big George outta town...because of personality)

I think MacT has been too close to this group for too long. It's time to take his personality to the pressbox. Let's have a new pecking order established based entirely on performance and performance alone. It's time to be a more professional organization.

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#46 Smokin' Ray Burnt
November 26 2008, 04:13PM
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Anyone know what the 3rd and 4th lines are going to be tonight?

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#47 Jonathan Willis
November 26 2008, 04:15PM
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Chris:

With Jeff Deslauriers as the number one tender, and Roloson as the backup? ;)

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#48 Clarkenstein
November 26 2008, 04:18PM
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The mighty Oil that KLowe and MacT have assembled are on pace to finish a "mere" 60 points behind first place San Jose!! Combine that with the fact they also are only 4 points out of "Dead F**cking Last" place!!! Nice job boys!!! Then they have the audacity to tell they are basically happy with a 9-11 record so far!!

FIRE THEM NOW

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#49 Jonathan Willis
November 26 2008, 04:24PM
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The masses seem upset :)

Open question to everyone: if the Oilers win 4-0 tonight, will anyone's opinion on the firing/not-firing of Lowe/Tambellini/MacTavish/Joey Moss change? If not, what kind of performance would it take to change your mind (in this game or coming games)?

I only ask because I'm wondering how entrenched people are in their positions.

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#50 Bruthah
November 26 2008, 04:29PM
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4-0? OPINION MIGHT CHANGE

7-0? WITH 48 SAVES BY ROLIE? LEANING TO YES

14-0? WITH HORCOFF, HEMMER AND PENNER EACH GETING A HATTRICK, AND THE FIRST 100 SAVE SHUTOUT? MacT can stay forever.

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