SUN Hockey Pool

Closer to a solution?

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Craig MacTavish may never go to the bullpen again.

Not because of what happened again.

If Kevin Lowe finally gets him his goaltender in a deadline deal, it's just that he may never have to deal with the scenario again.

For the second time this season, the Edmonton Oilers coach raised eyebrows around the league by pulling his overtime goalie to sub him with Mike Morrison from under the stands.

Ty Conklin, who was going for his third win in a row before finding his fate in the deadline dealings, sat down on the bench and fired his mask to the floor.

Like Jussi Markkanen against St. Louis before the Olympic break when MacTavish yarded him out of there for his shootout specialist, Conklin was still steaming in the dressing room.

"No, I don't agree with it at all," said Conklin.

"I wanted to do really well in that shootout. It's tough. I played the whole game. It's frustrating."

He said he shouldn't have thrown his mask when he got to the bench.

"That's not the best way to go about it. But I was frustrated."

Markkanen said he relates to Conklin not being happy with what happened.

"Why would you be?"

The difference this night was that Conklin started and went all the way. It was Morrison who started the St. Louis game. He was yanked, replaced by Markkanen, and came back into the game.

"It's his call. It's his team. He thought it was the best way to go. You've got to live with it," said Markkanen.

Another difference in this one.

It was Dallas.

Dallas was 8-for-8 going into this.

And Jussi Jokinen was 8-for-8 on shootouts.

They are both now 9-for-9!

And Sergei Zubov is now 6-for-9.

Morrison was 5-0 in shootouts for the Oilers until he became a reliever. He stopped two of three against St. Louis in losing and zero of two last night. As a reliever the Oilers haven't managed to get him a shootout goal.

"It's part of being at team," Morrison said of MacTavish sending him under the stands to get loose at the start of overtime as he did the previous game against Nashville when Chris Pronger won it in overtime.

"I think it was a good decision. Ty played well. And we were going against the best goaltender and the best shooter."

He said it's no big deal to go in cold like that. Not for him, at least.

"It's not much different at all. It's not that hard a thing to do."

COULDN'T STOP JOKINEN

Stopping Jokinen ... that's a different deal.

Conklin couldn't do it on a penalty shot.

Morrison couldn't do it in the shootout.

"Everybody respects that move where he reaches back ... I tried to hold that side as long as I could. Then he went blocker side. It was a smart play. Sometimes you win 'em, sometimes you lose 'em.

"It's not just the Jokinen show. It's the Dallas Stars show."

MacTavish said Jokinen is better than 9-for-9.

"He was 4-for-4 in the pre-season. It gets in everybody's head. He's one step ahead before he starts."

MacTavish said he guessed wrong.

"Ty probably deserved to stay in. Had it not been for giving up the penalty shot, he probably would have stayed in."

He did defend the decision, too.

"The numbers are what they are. We do better when Mike is in there for shootouts. We do better in practice when he's in there.

"But I have evidence it was the wrong thing to do. We lost the game."

It's the kind of situation which breeds water-cooler talk. But because of the trade deadline, it won't have a very long shelf life.

It's time for Lowe to get MacTavish his goalie. While this wasn't exactly typical, the Oilers lost another game to a good team with a good goalie again.

The word goalie wasn't mentioned in the questioning. Just the deadline dealing.

'OWE IT TO THE TEAM, THE FANS'

"You owe it to the team to give it a better chance to win," said the coach. "You owe it to the fans and you owe it to the organization to give it the best chance to win.

"You've seen the effort this team gives most night. It's the hardest working team in the league. You owe it to the players here. We're in a lot better position here this year. We have got to have some success."

MacT says he's optimistic.

"Yeah. We've got good prospects. We're prepared to make a deal. We're prepared to overpay. We have to add something in here to help this team now."

We were talking goalie.

"A lot of team are looking for one more save. We're one of those."

Get him and his bullpen will close.


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