Dwayne Roloson: Destined To Play Every Game Between Now and Elimination?

roli1

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.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    On the other hand, Roloson was phenomenal in the two games prior to last night,

    I was at the Blues game and my tix have me seeing Roli for the 1st and 3rd periods and OT and S/O. I didn't think that the Blues really tested Roli until the last 5 minutes or so of the third period and into the OT and then the shootout.

    The shots for the blues were misleading – 32 shots overall, 8 in the third period and 2 in OT. This was not a tough night for Roli. Yes, big saves in the closing moments and in OT, but lots of outside or perimiter shots by STL.

    Roli stopped 25 of 25 even strength shots.

  • Hippy

    Of course it's a huge calculated gamble. Obviously the best way for us to finish sixth is to ice our hottest team every night, of which Roli is part of the equation. Maybe if Visnovsky stays healthy and we win a few more, Roli gets some more games off. But right now it's a balls to the wall strategy to avoid San Jose or Detroit, either of which would make quick work of us.

    The unknown in all this is the injury factor. If Roli goes down, then we have an AHL goaltender in net who's been sitting on the bench since November coming into the highest pressure part of the season stone cold. At that point I think the gamble would have failed and we'd go kicking and scratching into the night in 9th or so.

    All in all, a good gamble I think. Still, it would be nice to have a reliable NHL backup to spell off Roli once in a while. Although I see the Flames are riding Kipper pretty hard too (and always have) so maybe this isn't such a big deal as we think. As long as Roli can stay mentally sharp, then he should be competitive enough to make the second season. Good thing for Roli is that our D is maturing somewhat and alot of nights he has to be mostly solid with a few moments of brilliance.

  • Hippy

    jeanshorts wrote:

    So in conclusion, let’s just ride Rolli until he finally dies on the ice.

    Maybe if we stage his death we can get a few games postponed and get him a break anyways

  • Hippy

    As an aside: am I the only one who gets a kick out of Roli saying that he's "not at liberty" to discuss how he feels, and that the reporter should go talk to the trainers?

    He's a funny guy, that Roloson.

  • Hippy

    Tim S wrote:

    When I saw the 2 goals that he overplayed last night I wondered if that was a sign of fatigue. When I see the way he needs a Spatchula just to get up off the ice it makes me wonder if that is a sign of fatigue.

    On the other hand, Roloson was phenomenal in the two games prior to last night, and even last night he made some great saves – in the shootout, on the bogus Toews penalty shot, etc.

    I weasel-worded my opinion at the end "I'm not convinced he's wrong because this is one of those situations where there are good arguments in both directions.

    That said, MacTavish went with Roloson well before most of us would have this year, and it probably saved the Oilers' playoff hopes. If I had to decide, I'd say that MacTavish not only will lean on Roli again, but that he's likely right to do so.

  • Hippy

    The crappy thing is, is that there are really no games for the rest of the season that we can chance it against a lower opposition. Phoenix is the only "easier" team we play for the rest of the season. But with the way the race is right now you don't want to give up an easy two points and slip up because that one game against Phoenix could either mean golfing in April, or golfing later in April.

  • Hippy

    Tim S wrote:

    When it comes to fatigue it is not how he feels now but how will he feel in the future. His age and the amount of games he plays says that he can not/should not play them all. Mentally if not physically it is too much.
    When I saw the 2 goals that he overplayed last night I wondered if that was a sign of fatigue. When I see the way he needs a Spatchula just to get up off the ice it makes me wonder if that is a sign of fatigue.

    Last night is a bit of an exception, though. Don't forget they played back-to-back games on the road and got to their hotel at 3am.

  • Hippy

    When it comes to fatigue it is not how he feels now but how will he feel in the future. His age and the amount of games he plays says that he can not/should not play them all. Mentally if not physically it is too much.

    When I saw the 2 goals that he overplayed last night I wondered if that was a sign of fatigue. When I see the way he needs a Spatchula just to get up off the ice it makes me wonder if that is a sign of fatigue.

  • Hippy

    Another thought to throw in here. It would be really nice to get a look at JDD before having to make some personel decisions at the goalie position in the off season.

  • Hippy

    To me, the stats are correct, he has looked better and better. You can always tell by hpw many times a game he loses his stick or shakes off his mask (that's when he is really on!!!!). I was a bit surprised to see him in lastnight, but, I think at this point, he plays till the parade. What exactly would we be resting him for? Maybe, depending how we play, he sits the last game against the lames.

  • Hippy

    I agree with riding roli, but what if we secure a spot and give JDD some time, then roli loses his hot streak right before the playoffs. IMO JDD should get a start soon and then its roli to the finish line, wherever that may be.

  • Hippy

    I'm not a stats guy. Do you have a stat on bad goals allowed versus not? Probably not. 40 perimieter shots a game can really pad the stats. How about a quality scoring chance stat?

  • Hippy

    Ender the Dragon wrote:

    I get the feeling that a ’successful’ season for the Oilers management would be getting to the second round of the playoffs. To have even a reasonable shot at that, you need to line up in at least 6th place in the West. So the two things you’re looking at, then, are winning as many of your next 11 games as possible, and then winning 4 of the seven after that. Total of, say, 18 games.
    MacT is probably of the mindset that the first 11 are more imprtant than the next 7, so he’ll probably ride Roli into the ground to get his playoff position, and then hope there’s something left to carry them in the first round. If Roli is spent going into the first round, then at that point he’ll ’sacrifice’ a game or two to JDD while Roli rests.
    Just my opinion . . . but I’m not opposed to this plan either.

    Amd quite frankly, no else should be, either. It's the only plan IMO.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    DWAYNE ROLOSON: DESTINED TO PLAY EVERY GAME BETWEEN NOW AND ELIMINATION?

    And you call yourself an Oilers fan… your supposed to be riding the OilFan rollercoaster of dizzying highs and soul crushing lows. The correct title of this article (given the current state of the team) is: "DWAYNE ROLOSON: DESTINED TO PLAY EVERY GAME BETWEEN NOW AND US WINNING THE STANLEY CUP?"

  • Hippy

    I get the feeling that a 'successful' season for the Oilers management would be getting to the second round of the playoffs. To have even a reasonable shot at that, you need to line up in at least 6th place in the West. So the two things you're looking at, then, are winning as many of your next 11 games as possible, and then winning 4 of the seven after that. Total of, say, 18 games.

    MacT is probably of the mindset that the first 11 are more imprtant than the next 7, so he'll probably ride Roli into the ground to get his playoff position, and then hope there's something left to carry them in the first round. If Roli is spent going into the first round, then at that point he'll 'sacrifice' a game or two to JDD while Roli rests.

    Just my opinion . . . but I'm not opposed to this plan either.

  • Hippy

    Those moments last night (including the awkward save on Kane in the shootout) worried me a bit, but otherwise Roli has been a machine this year. You look around the league and see all these other goaltenders missing days, weeks, or months with injuries, yet there's Roloson almost getting his head taken off by his own teammate and still going strong. This guy deserves major props, this is a season he was expected to play as insurance but he came in prepared for the long haul.
    I can easily see them continuing on with Roli for the rest of the season. I gotta say, though, this sure isn't helping JDD's development. Hopfully we can secure a spot early enough so we can throw him in for a game or two.

  • Hippy

    I'm in the other camp on this one. I can remember in 06-07 that when MacT rode Roli for a long period of time the wheels fell off after a while. On the flipside I get that Roli was playing those big minutes for the first time that season and he is probably better at conserving his energy because this isn't the first time he's played big minutes for us, but I just think that if he plays every game until he breaks then we're going to get burned and we would be better off reducing his workload now and reducing the chance of him needing a longer break to get his game back.

  • Hippy

    I can't make up my mind about it. You would expect a guy who's been around as long as Roloson to have enough self awareness to know if he needs to come out.

    On the other hand nobody with a serious enough competitive drive ever wants to come out.

    The question in my mind is this: if they wait for evidence that he's tired will it already be too late?