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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#51 RobinB
November 26 2008, 04:32PM
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Smokin: The 3rd line is Moreau-Pouliot-Cole.

The 4th line is Smid-Sestito-Reddox (until Garon gets his new skates and a bundle of Tom Poti's old sticks).

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#52 Mike Modano's Dog
November 26 2008, 04:39PM
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WTF, this is seriously MacTarded... MacTavish in all seriousness has ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE about how to handle goalies - and don't expect that to EVER change. Remember his putting in an ice-cold Jussi Markannen to play the shoot-out after Conklin had played well heading into it?! After failing laughably, remember him doing it again??? Yeah, that kind of goalie management...

We've watched Pouliot play every minute he could have with no clue why, and let people who deserve the ice time sit. I have seen this before with a Red-Hot Chimera, full of confidence coming out of the minors, only to sit and be sent down, etc.

Our guys are not ever going to be given ice-time based on how they play until MacT is shown the door. Please, for God's sake, somebody make it stop!

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#53 jdrevenge
November 26 2008, 04:40PM
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This is effin brutal. I have been a big opponent of Roli playing and I'm sure at some point we'll see why again. It happened last year and there is no reason to think that one year later hes gotten any better.

3 GAA tonight bet on it...

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#54 Smokin' Ray Burnt
November 26 2008, 04:43PM
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M M Dog:

It was Morrison not the Juice that went in.

2nd point. Chimera Sucks. I'm sure that didn't kill his confidence.

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#55 Smokin' Ray Burnt
November 26 2008, 04:44PM
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or his career.

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#56 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 04:46PM
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Robin: You're spitting venom today and I like it. In one sentence you managed to make fun of MacFail and include a Tom Poti reference. Kudos to you good sir!

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#57 shakey
November 26 2008, 04:56PM
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Jonathan; regardless of the outcome of tonights game my view will still be that change is needed. The Kings are not a team that you measure success against and a win against them is expected, not rejoiced. This team needs to play 50 - 55 minutes of hockey consistantly for each game for the next 15 - 20 games before I back off my view for change. I don't mean they need to win every game but they need to show they know how to start a game, play as a team, stick up for each other and not use the schedule, new position, bad hair cut etc as an excuse. Play with some pride and get as bothered by losing as some of us in here do. It's a game to us, it's their jobs.

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#58 Jonathan Willis
November 26 2008, 05:13PM
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RobinB:

Do you seriously think Garon will get a shot at the 4th line? JDD's not only 6'4", but my understanding is that he can crash and bang too.

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#59 DBO
November 26 2008, 05:24PM
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Lines tonight according to gregor on team 1260: horc-Hemsky-Penner kid line Pou-Cole-Moreau Setito-Smid-Reddox (not a misprint) Good times.

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#60 Clarkenstein
November 26 2008, 05:45PM
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How about: www.firelowetambellinmactavishjoeymoss.com

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#61 RobinB
November 26 2008, 06:03PM
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Jonathan: No, you've got bad info. Deslauriers is a big man who plays small and he hasn't shown the foot speed to be an effective banger. Plus, he refuses to play on the fourth line unless he gets to wear No. 27.

Garon is grittier, and I'm guessing he's blowing snot bubbles and wants to punch somebody in the face right about now, so he's the obvious choice.

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#62 The Towel Boy
November 26 2008, 06:59PM
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All this anger is making me angry.

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#63 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 07:01PM
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I've been saying it since Roli started playing so much - I think Garon is easier to move based on his salary. Probably not the right thing to do, but that appears to be the plan.

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#64 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 07:03PM
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Habs kicking A$$ in Unemployment Town tonight...maybe we should get Halak as a starting goalie next year when Roli & Garon are gone.

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#65 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 07:05PM
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Good news is McGuire is doing the game in Unemployment Town tonight.

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#66 Rammer
November 26 2008, 07:15PM
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Is Ferraro on the Oilers game tonight?

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#67 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 07:32PM
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Must be - McGuire in MoTown doing Habs/Wings.

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#68 jim
November 26 2008, 07:39PM
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Jonathan -

I might be in the minority or maybe those that share my opinion aren't saying anything but I'm willing to give this entire group the next 20 games or so to see how things go before I jump in any stolen Caravans or Aerostars with big FIRE MACT painted in spray paint on the doors. If they're still sucking after the halfway point... BM please slow to 20km/h at the corner of Gateway and Whyte and I'll gladly jump in the panel van. By the way I'm also scratching my head over the decision on the tender tonight.

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#69 Wanye Gretz
November 26 2008, 07:52PM
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RobinB Says: "Maybe MacT is letting Garon rest up so he’s fresh for his debut as the fourth-line left winger against St. Louis Saturday."

Classic. Game time in t-8

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#70 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:02PM
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NOW - Game Time

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#71 Wanye Gretz
November 26 2008, 08:07PM
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Game time

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#72 2k9Fan
November 26 2008, 08:07PM
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GAME TIME!!

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#73 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 08:09PM
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Tame Gime!

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#74 Travis Dakin
November 26 2008, 08:09PM
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Hell Yeah...

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#75 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:10PM
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gord must be pumped to be able to do the game when he can finish a sentence

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#76 Wanye Gretz
November 26 2008, 08:11PM
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I am super pumped to watch this game. It has been too long since I got to sit at HQ and attend a justice league meeting.

OILERZZZZZZZZ SQUEEE

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#77 Travis Dakin
November 26 2008, 08:13PM
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This is the first meeting I haven't had to attend by confrence call in a long ass time. I love days off!

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#78 OilersNinja
November 26 2008, 08:13PM
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3-1 Oilers Cole, Souray, Hemsky

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#79 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 08:14PM
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Take that Matt Greene!

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#80 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:14PM
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a real forward would have been on the doorstep Smid

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#81 Wanye Gretz
November 26 2008, 08:14PM
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Wow it's wierd to see Smid playing the wing. It's like seeing Mary Kate Olsen wear Ashley Olsen's clothes.

WOULDN'T THAT BE WEIRD???????

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#82 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:15PM
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OUCH! 4 minutes

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#83 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:16PM
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Roli in the Pete Peeters "starfish formation" attempting a poke check

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#84 Travis Dakin
November 26 2008, 08:16PM
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I love penalty kills!

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#85 Lubo71
November 26 2008, 08:16PM
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LOL Wanye you have rocks in your head

WOW THAT WAS LUCKY STRUDWICK

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#86 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 08:16PM
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I told you Strudwick was going to start in goal on Saturday. Look at that!

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#87 Wanye Gretz
November 26 2008, 08:17PM
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Oilers curb stomp the Kings tonight would be good for the ol' psyche in OilersLand one would have to assume. They took a lot of heat during this layoff.

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#88 Travis Dakin
November 26 2008, 08:17PM
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That's scary JS...

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#89 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 08:18PM
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baggedmilk is in the building

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#90 Travis Dakin
November 26 2008, 08:18PM
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A loss would feel better Wanye..

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#91 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 08:18PM
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Oh cool, another penalty!

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#92 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:18PM
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You know what they say about guys with big feet...need big Skates

4 on 4

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#93 OilersNinja
November 26 2008, 08:18PM
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WOW Oilers

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#94 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 08:18PM
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Wait, nevermind. Good. GOOD!

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#95 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:19PM
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Nice penalty Captain Brown...

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#96 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:19PM
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kopitar - drats!

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#97 jeanshorts
November 26 2008, 08:19PM
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Tighten up the bootstraps tonight men, we're in for a long one if this keeps up.

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#98 baggedmilk
November 26 2008, 08:19PM
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Edmonton rulez... see how I spelled that?

Awesome..

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#99 Travis Dakin
November 26 2008, 08:20PM
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This feels... right. Dammit

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#100 BUCK75
November 26 2008, 08:20PM
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I mean O'Sullivan

Nice Start guys.

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