Fun game last night. The refereeing was questionable – at times even downright bad, and the Oilers didn’t exactly carry the play for the whole game, but a win is a win and the Oilers have managed to put together a stretch of play that has them gaining some clearance on 9th place in the West. Despite a goal from Gagner and a shootout goal from Kotalik, the second line was soundly outplayed on the night, and Liam Reddox left the game after a late hit to the head from behind courtesy of Ben Eager.
Dwayne Roloson played his 27th game in a row last night, and there were some scary moments. He went down hard a couple of times, at one point slamming the back of his knee into his goal post, at another point appearing to injure his arm. He was asked about it after the game, and here are some of the questions:
REPORTER: Havlat went around the net and it looked like you hurt your arm…
ROLOSON: You’ll have to ask the trainers on that one, I’m not at liberty to say.
REPORTER: Were you worried at all when you went down?
ROLOSON: No, I wasn’t worried – well I was worried, he had the puck and he was going behind the net. You always worry when something hurts, but it’s part of the job.
PRINCIPE: Did you think you might have to come out, especially on the initial impact?
ROLOSON: I don’t know. I can’t answer that question – I don’t know what my thought process was at that point, sorry Gene I really can’t.
PRINCIPE: Before the game the head coach said that he had spoken to you and that he maybe considered starting Jeff, but he thought “why change a good thing”. I’m wonder about the conversation feeling you had in getting another chance to continue the streak?
ROLOSON: Well it wasn’t much of a conversation. He just said, “Are you OK?” I said “yeah” That was it. There wasn’t much to it.
Aside from the fact that Roloson clearly likes playing with the media and that he isn’t going to say anything that indicates he feels tired or hurt, I see one very interesting point there. At the risk of reading too much into one comment, the conversation between Roloson and MacTavish would seem to offer us a glimpse into the coach’s mindset. MacTavish clearly sees Roloson as a better option than Jeff Deslauriers, and it seems that he plans to ride the hot hand until Roloson says he needs a break – and despite his age I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Given that Roloson gets practices off, and given his incredibly competitive nature, I doubt that he’s going to ask for a break. MacTavish actually raised the point that playing many consecutive games could be a positive for Roloson:
“I’m waiting for the question: Do you think all this activity has been beneficial to Rollie?” added MacTavish. “And I’ll answer it: It looks to me like it has. He is a guy that’s capable of keeping his game at the level it’s at for quite some time.”
Is that wise? While this doesn’t qualify as a full answer, here is Dwayne Roloson’s save percentage (h/t to Vic Ferrari for the idea) in five game segments over the last 27 games:
- 1st segment: .898 SV%
- 2nd segment: .923 SV%
- 3rd segment: .918 SV%
- 4th segment: .912 SV%
- 5th segment: .919 SV%
- Last 2 games: .929 SV%
I don’t see any evidence there that Roloson’s getting tired yet. Further, I really don’t see MacTavish resting him until one of two things occurs: the Oilers have a playoff spot locked, or the wheels fall off. And I’m not convinced that he’s wrong to do so.