Roloson may be back to his winning ways

Robin Brownlee
March 17 2008 05:36PM

Like the Edmonton Oilers, Dwayne Roloson has absolutely no intention of going quietly and heading for the golf course like the whipped guy a lot of fans thought he was. Having lost his job as Craig MacTavish's top puck-stopper long ago and forced to pick pine slivers out of his arse while Mathieu Garon made 17 straight starts, Roloson showed what he's made of last weekend. In to mop up for Garon in a 5-1 loss to Colorado Thursday, Roloson got the nod in Phoenix Saturday and stiffed the Coyotes 5–2 with 38 saves. Roloson followed that up by hauling his 38-year-old carcass out of the rack for a game in San Jose less than 24 hours later and beat the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout with a 48-save performance. Just like that, the Oilers have nine wins in their last 11 games and arrived home just five points out of a playoff spot. Tuesday, they'll kick-off a four-game homestand that, against all odds, means something. "You just try to focus on what you've got to do to try to help the team win," Roloson said this morning. "I got the opportunity to play and I'm just trying to take advantage of it." Roloson's performance, given he had every opportunity to sulk while Garon took the spotlight, was nothing short of magnificent. For the record, Roloson's no media darling. At best, he tolerates the white-strip TV guys and ink-stained newspaper folks. In fact, he's downright surly at times, which is no the way to get slack when your game goes south and a case of Salo-itis seems to have taken grip. But, while Roloson's not the most engaging interview—there was no, "So, who's No. 1 now, Mathieu?" gold to be mined—he's got a chance to backstop one of the unlikeliest happy endings in team history. Roloson, against all reason, is that good right now. "I've seen him at that level, but I haven't seen him above that level," said MacTavish. "The thing about Roli is that when his game gets there, I've seen it stay there for three months. With the games he's played, the game he played (Sunday), he's back at the level we’ve seen him at before and we know where that can lead you." That would be the spring of 2006 when Roloson helped carry the Oilers to the Stanley Cup final before Marc-Andre Bergeron's brain cramp ended his goaltender's Conn Smyth Trophy bid and his team's hopes. Now, don't get goofy. It's 2008, so please, resist the urge to break stuff and puke on your shoes on Whyte Ave. With nine games to go, the Oilers are still a longshot. Still, MacTavish's reference is clear. The last word goes to Garon, who'll now find himself a cheerleader for as long as Roloson stays hot. "We're winning," Garon said. "I'm not here for myself. I'm here for the team. We just won two big games. I know what's going on. I want to be in the playoffs, so if it works that way I have no problem." NO SECRETS I implied yesterday that Garon might be hiding an injury, thus the back-to-back starts for Roloson. While Garon was yanked in Denver after being bowled over by Steve Staios and Milan Hejduk, he told me this morning it was a straight pull by MacTavish—no injury involved. —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5 pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 TonyRomo
March 17 2008, 06:06PM
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"he told me this morning it was a straight pull by MacTavish—no injury involved."

This site kicks ass. You actually provide answers to the things we are all wondering about. The Oilers nation is the only person talking about this.

GO OILERS GO!

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#2 breakerdog
March 17 2008, 07:47PM
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Ride Roli until he looks like, well, a 38 year old back up goalie again.

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#3 Ed
March 17 2008, 08:30PM
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Does Roloson start against Phoenix tomorrow Robin?

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#4 RobinB
March 17 2008, 08:46PM
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Yes. MacT doesn't divulge his guy before a game, but he told us today to draw our own conclusions based on the last two games. In other words, Roloson will start.

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#5 Tommy
March 18 2008, 06:50AM
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Fantastic insight Brownlee - I admit I have been as surprised as anyone with Roloson, but I'm willing to close my eyes and pretend it is like the how he played in the run...

I can't believe I am saying this, but if they beat Vancouver twice things all of a sudden look interesting. That is a big if though.

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#6 Al
March 18 2008, 09:22AM
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I am one fan who was wondering where Roli's head was at after the results he has had since the roof fell in after the midway point last year. Like others I was wondering out loud how the Oilers could dump his 3 mil plus- contract. He has shown that he is made of sterner stuff than his performance over the last season or so would indicate. He definitely has "game" as they say and played a couple of really focused and determined games. Roli will never be an ebullient interview subject. I will be happy to see him leave the post-game stand-up routine to MacT and do his talking with his edgy and determined play.

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#7 Al
March 18 2008, 10:34AM
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Robin: I apologize in advance for asking a question based on a hypothetical situation. I have a question regarding the percentage of Oiler team or corporate profits that are sent to the league every year. Is there any restriction on this sum? Assuming Kates is approved, a new facility is built and new or increased revenue streams are developed from this new facility: Is there any limit on how deep the league can reach into the Oilers pockets? Are there only certain categories of income that are taxed or is it just a flat percentage based on the bottom line?

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#8 RobinB
March 18 2008, 12:57PM
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Al: I appeciate you reading, but for crying out loud, limit questions to something that can be answered in less than 8,000 words.

You should apologize in advance.

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#9 PunjabiOil
March 18 2008, 02:21PM
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Robin Brownlee - as a fan of your work, I wish to contact you. Could you flip an email to me (the owner/moderator of this forum should be able to give it to you)

Thanks

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#10 Al
March 18 2008, 04:21PM
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Sorry Robin I assumed you could put something in a couple of sentences, since wordsmithing is your profession afterall. I find that just saying "I don't know the answer" when you don't have an answer to be an appropriate response. It tends to go down easier than your snotty retort.

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#11 Ed
March 18 2008, 10:11PM
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Holy Crap Al. This isn't www.robinbrownleeanswersyourquestions.com

Simmer down. If you want an immediate answer call a radio show. Don't listen to him brownlee, I laughed out loud at your 'snotty' retort

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#12 Wanye Gretz
March 18 2008, 10:18PM
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Damn Al, take it easy playboy. This site aint a coin operated Q&A session with Robin Brownlee.

No wait. I want it to be.

Robin, can you please tell me what every single permutation and combination of wins and loss possibilities for every single Western Conference game down the stretch, and its implications on the Oilers playoff chances. Please list games by NHL numbers, and give me potential goal scorers listed alphabetically. Please tell me your answer in ancient sanscrit, as I prefer it to your earth language of English.

I expect an answer within 4 minutes, or you are a bum and this site is crap.

For I am the great Wanye, friend to Al and I demand it.

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#13 RobinB
March 18 2008, 10:34PM
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I got your demand right here, Bub.

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#14 PunjabiOil
March 19 2008, 01:44AM
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Thanks to the owner/moderator/administrator for passing along my email address. I did an interview with Brownlee, which can be viewed on my blog. Of course I referenced the Oilersnation blog in that interview [some free cross-promotioning!].

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