The result of game one in the Stanley Cup playoff was but an afterthought by late Monday night, as word quickly spread that the Oilers rock in the playoffs Dwayne Roloson was done for the playoffs.
Forgotten was the fact the Oilers had a three goal lead and surely should have won this game one, forgotten was the fact that with a 5 on 3 advantage they couldn’t score a power play goal, forgotten was a pee wee like mix-up behind the net that resulted in Carolina’s winning goal with but 31 seconds to go in the game. It was a remarkable come back by Carolina who looked sluggish and lost in the first period and then completely in control by the third, taking victory 5-4 with scant seconds left in the game, but instead of even that amazing feat that would not be the main topic of conversation on Tuesday.
Instead all talk is about Roloson, the key ingredient in this Oiler run in 2006, now relegated to a fan, his knee no longer of physical use to him nor his hockey team. The Oiler goaltender was injured in the third period in a scramble in his crease, the Hurricanes Andrew Ladd pushed through the crease by the Oilers Marc Andre Bergeron and tumbling on top of the Oiler goalkeeper’s knee, blowing it out for the playoffs. What remains now to be seen, is if the Oilers playoff hopes have popped along with Rolosons third MCL.
It cast a pall over Edmonton Monday night as Oiler fans tried to comprehend the end to a wild an wooly playoff match that offered up a tease for a stunning series to follow, now the talk is can the Oil hang on to try and scrape out a Stanley Cup against all odds.
The Oilers to a man suggest that the injury is just another bridge to cross on their way to hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup, suggesting that they have fought against adversity all year long and this was just one more bit to add to the pile. Oiler captain Ryan Smyth adding that”this isn’t over yet”.
Head coach Craig MacTavish has one of the most important decisions an Oiler coach has had to make, that of which goaltender to go with on Wednesday in game number two, Ty Conklin or Jussi Markkanen. Regardless of which player he chooses, MacTavish can probably be assured of a complete team effort by his Oilers, as they once again strive to circle the wagons and take on all comers.
While most of the hockey establishment kindly nod their heads, give the Oilers a nice pat on the back and suggest that the series is over, the Oilers will go down fighting. They have if nothing else this playoff year, shown that there is no quit in a team wearing copper and blue. If they are the team of destiny this year that some have pegged them, they’ve just made that script even more interesting.