GDB 21: Garon rides the pine

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

  • |\|0081?|\|þ®1|\|(355

    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.

  • Reggie

    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.

  • Bruthah

    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.

  • Dustan

    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.

  • JB

    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?

  • Rick

    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.

  • 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.

  • Oilerdago

    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.

  • BigCap

    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!!

  • 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.