Conklin frustrated

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

As if Ty Conklin's numbers weren't already bad enough, they, along with his confidence, took another hit in Friday's 7-1 loss to Colorado.

Conklin allowed four goals on 14 shots in relief of Jussi Markkanen and now sits with a swollen goals-against average of 4.39 and a saves-percentage of .836 in four appearances.

"You can only say, 'Ah, forget it. It's just one night' so many times," said Conklin, who admits a tough start is getting to him. "It's definitely frustrating and not one of those things you want to go through."

After coming in for Markkanen, Conklin got the hook with the score 7-0. Markkanen went back in and didn't allow another goal, after giving up the first three.

While Conklin, 29, began the season considered by many to be the No. 1 guy, he's struggled to the point where Markkanen has made four straight starts. Chances are, the Finn will get the call again Tuesday in the rematch with the Avs in Denver.

"I don't completely forget about it when I leave the rink," Conklin said.

"Some guys can do that, I can't. It's one of those things that weighs on you a little bit. I can't change it at home. I can only change it at the rink."

LET'S GET RITA TO RUMBLE: Jani Rita looked set to go with Brad May in the first period before Georges Laraque stepped in Friday, but looks can be deceiving.

Rita wasn't about to back down after May took exception to the Finn's clean hit on Dan Hinote, but he's not exactly a seasoned scrapper.

In fact, Rita has never had a National Hockey League fight.

Rita dropped the gloves once in the AHL, getting into a hey-rube in a game against the Syracuse Crunch three seasons ago, and didn't fare well.

Suffice to say, that's work better left to Laraque.

AROUND THE RINK: Raffi Torres left the ice midway through practice and didn't return. PR man J.J. Hebert said Torres has a tender groin ... Markkanen was given the morning off from practice and worked out in the dressing room, but didn't skate.


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