About that sneaking suspicion...

Robin Brownlee
March 21 2008 06:40PM

Mathieu, how could you? I thought we had a, well, you know, a connection. Now this? A fib? Where's the trust? So, now TSN is reporting Mathieu Garon didn't practice with the Oilers today and that he "has an unspecified lower body injury which he's been struggling with for about a week." That, at least, explains a fourth straight start by Dwayne Roloson—a sub-par effort in which he allowed four goals on 21 shots in Thursday's back-breaking 4–1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Garon is injured. On March 16 I wrote...

Where’s Garon?

Is Mathieu Garon injured? There’s no word from the Edmonton Oilers on that, but after making 17 straight starts, Garon was back on the bench for the second straight game as Dwayne Roloson got the call in a 2-1 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks. While Roloson was outrageously good in San Jose, making 48 saves, his back-to-back starts—he beat Phoenix 5-2 with 38 saves Saturday—seem odd, given the circumstances... It’s common practice to split back-to-back games between a starter and the back-up. Sitting out your starter, assuming he’s healthy, for both games is anything but common—especially when those games are played in less than 24 hours. While Garon may just have some bumps and bruises as opposed to having a specific injury, I suspect there’s more to Roloson’s back-to-back starts than just “rest” for the starter. As sharp as Roloson looks, Garon may get more rest if he, ahem, needs it.

A day later, after morning practice at Rexall Place, I asked Garon if he was banged up after Steve Staios had run Milan Hejduk into him in Denver and Matt Greene had dumped 250-pound Dustin Byfuglien on him in Chicago. Specifically, I asked about an ankle I was told "is tender."

Garon assured me he wasn't injured.

On March 17 I wrote...

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. Hiding injuries is common practice down the stretch and in the playoffs—like Jason Smith playing with a broken toe at the end of the season a few years back. Nobody told the beat writers. It happens all the time.

What a relief. I feared, considering Roloson was ordinary in his third straight start, an 8–4 win over Phoenix, Craig MacTavish had completely lost his marbles by putting Roloson in against the Canucks. No worries. He's sane.

But, Mathieu, I thought you and I…

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
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 21 2008, 09:24PM
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I knew it! There is no way you would abandon Garon's hot hand. Good reporting Brownlee!

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#2 Muller
March 21 2008, 09:39PM
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You deserve a raise.

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#3 RobinB
March 21 2008, 10:22PM
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Muller: A raise in what? Pay? Surely you know better.

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#4 Gord Mark
March 21 2008, 11:30PM
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Well, I don't like the idea of Roli carrying the mail for the rest of the season but it's at least a small comfort to know that MacT hasn't totally lost his shit; which is the way it looked when Roli took the hill last night against the Jim Hughson's.

Always easy to look upon MacT in a harsh light when it comes to the goalies, though. For instance, they started Garon in consecutive games in the teens not too long ago and the dude clearly needed a rest long before he got one.

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#5 David Staples
March 22 2008, 10:13AM
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Good stuff, Robin. You guessed it first and you guessed it right.

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#6 OilersNinja
March 22 2008, 11:19AM
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I am going to come up with a vaccine for this god damn injury bug we have...................boys line up its time for your shots

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#7 Al
March 22 2008, 11:39AM
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If Garon is unavailable for the rest of the games it will give the coaching staff a chance to see what they probably know already. Rollie doesn't have the same sharpness on a consistent basis that he and Oil need to have for any hope this year much less in the future.

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#8 RobinB
March 22 2008, 12:32PM
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David S: It made no sense the way Garon was pulled in Denver if it wasn't an injury. If you don't hook him right after the 3-0 goal, why not wait until the next goal or end of the period? Garon went straight to the bench after the collsion with Staios and Hejduk. Not being on the road, I couldn't be sure. I even talked to Matty (twice) to ask, but the Oilers were calling it a straight pull -- as did Garon when I asked him directly after the team got home. We've seen this before . . .

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#9 theoil
March 22 2008, 12:50PM
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I wouldn't be surprised, in light of this info, if he wasn't injured even before that in Chicago and just aggravated it to the point where he couldn't play anymore when Staios did his thing. I assume we will find out after the season or when the games don't matter any more. If the Falcons weren't in such a tight race and the season is lost and Garon is done I would have liked to see DD or JDD start a couple.

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