SUN Hockey Pool

Morrison gets just reward?

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:30 PM ET

PHOENIX -- It turns out an outstanding start doesn't necessarily get you another one.

In the case of the Edmonton's Oilers goaltending trifecta, it gets you a seat on the end of the bench and an opportunity to contemplate how well you played while somebody else gets the tap.

Mike Morrison, who beat San Jose 3-2 in a shootout Thursday with 27 saves in his first start in a month, got a seat while Jussi Markkanen got the call against the Phoenix Coyotes last night.

"It's nice to have goaltenders sitting off wins rather than sitting off losses mentally," coach Craig MacTavish said. "Then, you're putting in a confident goaltender every night.

BIGGEST BAROMETER

"Obviously, the play is the biggest barometer for me in terms of who we play. It would be nice to get goaltenders in a situation where they're not continually sitting off losses."

MacTavish wants to use Morrison, now 6-1-0, against the Calgary Flames at Rexall Place tomorrow. As MacTavish said Thursday, it was either play Morrison in three straight or put Markkanen in.

"Normally, you get the win and you get the start," MacTavish said.

RESTED, CONFIDENT

"With the way Mike played the other night, and the way Jussi played (in a 3-1 loss to Buffalo last Monday), you put Jussi back in and you have a rested, confident goalie going in against Calgary."

Right now, Ty Conklin is the odd man out. He was in street clothes again last night when the puck dropped.

"It's a juggling act," MacTavish said. "Right now, it could be the third guy is on the outside looking in if we have prolonged success with these two guys. It's a two-goalie game and we've got three."

Who's sorry now?

Petr Nedved opted to leave Edmonton as an unrestricted free agent and sign with Phoenix after the 2003-04 season, in part because his super model wife Veronica Verakova wanted to be nearer Los Angeles.

But, after failing to do much in the desert this season, scoring just 2-9-11 in 25 games with the Coyotes, Nedved was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers Friday for defenceman Dennis Seidenberg.

"It's a good lesson for those guys," MacTavish said. "You wonder how much of it is hockey-related and how much is lifestyle-related."

Nedved had a tidy stint with Edmonton down the stretch, scoring 5-10-15 in 16 games with the Oilers and seemed a good fit after coming over from the New York Rangers with Jussi Markkanen in March of 2004.

He turned down a competitive offer from GM Kevin Lowe to sign with the Coyotes.

"I really felt like Petr was a great fit for us," MacTavish said.

''We were a real good fit for him. You can underestimate the importance of those situations.

"You choose climate over a hockey decision and the next thing you know, hey, it's not working. There's not the same chemistry. There's not the same opportunity. You find yourself struggling."


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