Garon's 'fair shake', Reddox ain't no Rudy

Jason Gregor
January 20 2009 07:46AM

EdmontonOilers2

I was asked where I am regarding the Potulny re-assignment and some other things, so I will venture in on that and more random thoughts regarding the Oilers.

What can I say about Reddox, other than I'm perplexed? The "HE HAS HEART" and "

HE REMINDS ME OF RUDY

" is a great observation, except, Rudy played two downs in four years. TWO. And they came at the end of the game with nothing on the line. I won't lie, I, like most men shed a tear in that movie, and I loved that portly little bastard. How could you not love Daniel E “Rudy” Ruettiger (What the hell does the E stand for? I’ve always wondered that). He engendered everything that we love about heart, determination and the will to succeed in sports. Hell, all of us relate to that because none of us had the natural ability to succeed in a really high level of sports, and deep down we all respect those traits. That was Sean Astin’s best role, followed closely by his Sam Gamgee portrayal in Lord of the Rings. But guess what? Rudy was in college and like I said he played two downs. Liam Reddox is in the NHL, and that fact he gives it all every shift is great, but he needs to bring more and frankly he doesn’t have the skills to produce in the NHL. I don’t think Potulny does either, so I’m not surprised he was sent down. Reddox can barely stick handle through the neutral zone, when he hits he barely makes an impact because his buck-seventy-five frame doesn’t impose much of a threat, and outside of being in the right place on the ice he doesn’t do much for me. Thankfully Nilsson will return on the 27th and Reddox will be off the top two lines. He will probably stick around as a fourth liner or pressbox guy. Can his RUDY attitude rub off on some guys? I guess so, but I don’t see him being a factor long term, nor do I see Potulny. At least Reddox reminds us of one of the greatest sports movies of all time, so that's a positive.

Promotion for the sake of it -- I think not

I am still in awe of the blinder mentality of some of the readers and Oiler fans on here. Many of you are quick to dispatch Ethan Moreau as only a fourth liner, while you are willing to just hand third line minutes to guys like Pouliot, Brule and even an inconsistent Robert Nilsson, hell some of you wanted to hand Schremp ice-time ahead of Moreau. “They have more skill” is the usual uneducated response to why these three should play ahead of him on the third line. Well, I’m from the Show Me State, and none of them have showed any consistency in their careers and outside of Brule even a shred of a gritty game which is needed to be a successful third liner. I wonder if you truly understand the dynamics of what it takes to win in the NHL and the types of players certain teams need. Moreau is what he is, and he has been in the league for 13 years doing it night in and night out. He is Liam Reddox, just bigger and with more skill. Moreau gives you all he has most nights, and what he has isn’t a ton of NHL offensive skill. But he fights if need be, with a separated shoulder at times, he blocks shots with his face, he doesn’t seek individual accolades and while he might not be in the class of Messier, Gretzky or Weight when it comes to leadership, he is far from a Shayne Corson. Did you see how excited his teammates were when he got his first hat trick? Do you think they all don’t respect him as a leader? If you take away PP points, he would be tied for second with 18, only one behind Cogliano’s 19. Only Hemsky has more even strength goals (10), while Moreau has nine and one SH so technically he is tied with Hemsky. He is second on the team in hits, and has more than Pouliot, Brule and Nilsson combined, yet many of you think he is better suited on the fourth line. Yes, he takes a few too many aggressive penalties, but it's easier to kill off that penalty than a lazy hooking or tripping penalty any day. I’m not saying he's the savior of this team, but on a team that has one of the softest forward groups in the league, demoting the one guy who brings grit is asinine. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Garon talks about getting a raw deal

Yesterday I had Mathieu Garon on my radio show and the first question I asked him was if he felt like he got a fair shot from the start of the season? “Well, if you look all around the league, a lot of goalies like Kiprusoff, Luongo and Turco had a tough start, and the team stuck with them a little bit longer. I don’t want to say they didn’t give me a chance, but it was really quick, two bad games and it was pretty much over, but what can you do about it? When you have three goalies you have the luxury to try other goalies.” Clearly he wasn’t happy, but sorry Mathieu comparing yourself to those three goalies might be a stretch. The big difference is that those three are so much better than their backups that those teams have to go back with their starter even if he struggles. The difference between Garon and Roloson was marginal, and that more than anything was why he lost his job this year. He didn’t get as long of a rope as Roloson did last year, and that is unfair, but I think it was Deslauriers and not Roloson that made the Oilers feel Garon was expendable. Deslauriers’ first game was in Calgary on Oct. 17. He wasn’t great but he won, and then his next start wasn’t until Nov. 9 in NJ. Guess what? He didn’t use rust or lack of practice as an excuse, rather he was the Oilers best player that night and the next against the Rangers. Garon’s mental game is what cost him this year more than anything. He also talked about the allegations that he and Pete Peeters had a rift. “It was good with Pete. I’ve heard and read things that I haven’t been happy with Pete and I wanted to bring in my own goalie coach, and that isn’t true... I never asked in the two years I was here to use any other goalie coach. I only worked with the goalie coach (Lyle Mast) in LA twice so that wasn’t true.” I always liked Garon because he was honest and candid when you asked him a question. Athletically, he might be top three in the league, but it is the mental part of the game that he has to work on, and that is the hardest part of being a goalie, in my opinion. If you want to hear the entire interview, visit

www.justagame.ca

for a listen. The first question was, “Did you get a fair shot?” There is also an interview with Rick Nash talking about the Blue Jackets and if Hitchcock’s defence-first attitude has made him change his offensive habits.

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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 Jonathan Willis
January 20 2009, 12:05PM
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@ Since79:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but anonymous hockey thread commenters don't have a ton of credibility; anyone can say he has a press pass.

Reddox is a top-tier AHL player, or a serviceable bottom-six guy. Nothing special, but not exactly a "joke" either.

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#52 Travis Dakin
January 20 2009, 12:08PM
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I have a press pass...

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#53 bingofuel
January 20 2009, 12:11PM
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I *had* a press pass. But it got ruined in the wash. Also, it said "Robin Brownlee" on it.

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#54 Travis Dakin
January 20 2009, 12:15PM
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@ bingofuel:

I still think you're credible.

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#55 Since79
January 20 2009, 12:15PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Since79: Not to put too fine a point on it, but anonymous hockey thread commenters don’t have a ton of credibility; anyone can say he has a press pass. Reddox is a top-tier AHL player, or a serviceable bottom-six guy. Nothing special, but not exactly a “joke” either.

He asked, I told him. Anyone that sits close enough to the boards or the bench can hear what the players say. They make fun of him like they used to make fun of Marchant; the high voice, little frame, etc. When it comes to my pass, I've had one for years; I do work for the NHL.

I should have stated that he needs to go from the top two lines. He does nothing of value there; in fact, he looks lost at times in the offensive zone. That's what I meant as a 'joke'. He's a great AHL player, but at best he's a fourth liner in the NHL. Why is he playing with Gagner and Cole when Potulny was the one who started to have chemistry with those two?

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#56 bingofuel
January 20 2009, 12:20PM
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@ Travis Dakin: *swoon*

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#57 Didsdave
January 20 2009, 12:21PM
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@ Travis Dakin:correct

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#58 Travis Dakin
January 20 2009, 12:23PM
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@ Didsdave:

Hey Buddy! I hope the retirement has been treating you good. Man it's been a long time. I'm still here but in the plant now. Good times. It's good to know that they will let ANYBODY on this site! ha.

@ bingofuel: Tee-Hee.

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#59 Jonathan Willis
January 20 2009, 01:05PM
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Since79 wrote:

He’s a great AHL player, but at best he’s a fourth liner in the NHL. Why is he playing with Gagner and Cole when Potulny was the one who started to have chemistry with those two?

Gotcha. Yeah, I have no reason why Potulny was scratched so he could play on a scoring line. It seems fairly obvious that Potulny adds scoring, while Reddox adds defense. The Gagner-Cole line would seem to be more about scoring. I understood (even if I didn't agree with) Reddox being put with Horcoff, but the second line spot was baffling.

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#60 Jason Gregor
January 20 2009, 01:40PM
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Braden wrote:

Matt Cooke has as many EV points as Horcoff. According to your logic, he’s just as talented as Horcoff because the numbers say so.

I meant on the Oilers...Wake up. As for my credibility, read my post GDT post. That clears it up and my source was correct that talks occured, but it was in fact the Garon camp who started them and the Oilers said they would wait.

So I guess you will call Garon a liar when I asked him if he had any conversations and he said no. I don't expect him to have to divulge everything, but it is my job to ask the question.

I'm pretty confident in my credibility, and I'm glad you won't bother reading any of my stuff because according to you I'm not credible. I'm not sure how I will sleep tonight knowing that...it will be tough.

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#61 Dennis
January 20 2009, 02:53PM
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Gregor: do you mind throwing out some stats to support your idea that Moreau's penalties are easier to kill off because they come from aggression?

I could say that the Oilers record is better in games when Cogliano has five sips of water but I don't have any stats to back that up.

You're falling back on old axioms to try and support your point and I think it's great that you picked the game after the guy scores a hat-trick before you support him.

Other than that, good job:D

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#62 Chris
January 20 2009, 02:57PM
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I've been a Garon fan going back to his days with the Kings. I like his cool demeanor and incredible athleticism. Last year I was thrilled when Lowe signed Garon and I predicted that he would be a huge success in Edmonton and assume the number one spot from Roli. I was right and I was wrong. It is my contention that Garon failed to keep his game at a high level due to limited practice time. Roli draws on extreme mental toughness to dial in his game and get in the zone. Roli demonstated his mental toughness this year by not only surviving in the three goalie mess; but thriving in it. Garon, on the other hand, has at different times in his career drifted from solid technique and uses his flexibility and mobility as a crutch. In the past, when this has occured, Garon practiced extra long, and extra hard, to regain form. Garon likes to dial in his game through sheer repetition... not every athelete is the same. Multiple sources have indicated Garon was unhappy with his limited practice time. Is it a coincidence that Garon played his most technically sound game this season right after Deslaurier had been sent down? Garon's high level game was a casualty of the Kevin Lowe decision to start the season with three goalteneders. Fortunately, Tambellini was able to salvage a good return for another misused Oiler asset. I will miss seeing Garon in Oiler silks... Good luck Mathieu!

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#63 Travis Dakin
January 20 2009, 03:06PM
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Dennis wrote:

Gregor: do you mind throwing out some stats to support your idea that Moreau’s penalties are easier to kill off because they come from aggression?

It would seem to me that when he said easier, he meant as in the team doesn't mind killing it off as much because he was being aggressive and playing with some much needed nastiness as opposed to a lazy hooking penalty taken by a guy not making the effort. Seems pretty straight forwrd...

Jesus, if Messier and Anderson were playing today, they would lead the league in PM's on slashing penalties alone.

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#64 APE
January 20 2009, 03:13PM
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Sorry to stray from topic but now that Diepetro is out for the year do you think that Tamblowe will be able to hold NYI hostage until they give something up for Sabourin or no? (by something I mean a draft pick)

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#65 Travis Dakin
January 20 2009, 03:18PM
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@ APE: wow wouldn't it be nice to have garon to trade right now?

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#66 Jonathan Willis
January 20 2009, 03:26PM
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APE wrote:

Sorry to stray from topic but now that Diepetro is out for the year do you think that Tamblowe will be able to hold NYI hostage until they give something up for Sabourin or no? (by something I mean a draft pick)

Given that Sabourin's on waivers, I'd say no.

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#67 Since79
January 20 2009, 03:30PM
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Chris wrote:

I’ve been a Garon fan going back to his days with the Kings. I like his cool demeanor and incredible athleticism. Last year I was thrilled when Lowe signed Garon and I predicted that he would be a huge success in Edmonton and assume the number one spot from Roli. I was right and I was wrong. It is my contention that Garon failed to keep his game at a high level due to limited practice time. Roli draws on extreme mental toughness to dial in his game and get in the zone. Roli demonstated his mental toughness this year by not only surviving in the three goalie mess; but thriving in it. Garon, on the other hand, has at different times in his career drifted from solid technique and uses his flexibility and mobility as a crutch. In the past, when this has occured, Garon practiced extra long, and extra hard, to regain form. Garon likes to dial in his game through sheer repetition… not every athelete is the same. Multiple sources have indicated Garon was unhappy with his limited practice time. Is it a coincidence that Garon played his most technically sound game this season right after Deslaurier had been sent down? Garon’s high level game was a casualty of the Kevin Lowe decision to start the season with three goalteneders. Fortunately, Tambellini was able to salvage a good return for another misused Oiler asset. I will miss seeing Garon in Oiler silks… Good luck Mathieu!

Well said.

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#68 APE
January 20 2009, 03:50PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Touche.

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#69 Dennis
January 20 2009, 04:10PM
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Dakin: Gregor's opinion of which penalties are easier to kill off holds no water because he doesn't have the statistical evidence to back it up.

It's old-timey gobbedly gook.

I don't know if Jason believes in such things or he was just scrambling to defend the captain but either case would make his point no more salient.

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