SUN Hockey Pool

Cell-ebration time

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Dwayne Roloson flushed his cellphone down the toilet right after the NHL's Olympic break.

With trade rumours about the Minnesota Wild stopper rampant in recent weeks, a wise guy could've suggested Rollie the Goalie was making a pre-emptive strike - trying to avoid any bad news from GM Doug Risebrough about being dealt elsewhere. Not so.

Quite the contrary, insists Roloson, who got his ticket out of Minnesota yesterday when Risebrough sent him to the Edmonton Oilers for a first-round draft pick in 2006 and a conditional choice - contingent on the Oilers re-signing Roloson.

It was a bad case of food poisoning, not denial, that prompted Roloson to give his wireless the porcelain sendoff before he was dealt to Edmonton, becoming the Oilers go-to guy between the pipes.

Flushed with optimism is Roloson.

"I'm really excited to get a chance to play for this organization," Roloson said. "It has a great tradition. Plus, I'm coming to a playoff team that has a great chance of winning the Stanley Cup."

After splitting duties in tandem with Manny Fernandez since signing as a free agent in the Twin Cities in July 2001, Roloson saw the writing on the wall long before Risebrough signed Fernandez to a three-year contract for $13 million last Friday.

Rather than deny the obvious, Roloson, who'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and agent Mark Witken sat down with Risebrough, with the crux of the conversation being it would be better for both parties if a move was made.

"I pretty much figured out this was going to happen, that I'd eventually get traded because of Manny's new deal," he said. "I was waiting for the trade and I'm happy for it, that's for sure."

The 36-year old got his wish yesterday, and there was no mistaking his delight at the deal as he packed his bags before jumping a flight to San Jose to meet his new teammates last night.

"Hopefully, I'm going to get the opportunity to be the guy here," Roloson said. "As a goaltender, that's what you strive to do.

"You want to be the No. 1 guy wherever you go. You want to play. You want to make the difference in games."

After going to the Stanley Cup final in 1999 with the Buffalo Sabres - he was a teammate of Michel Peca - and being a part of Minnesota's unlikely roll to the Western Conference final in 2003, Roloson relishes the chance to backstop the Oilers down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Even if Roloson ends up being a rental player, he's a proven upgrade over Ty Conklin, Jussi Markkanen and Mike Morrison, who was put on waivers before the trade was announced.

"I want what everybody wants, and that's to win," he said. "I've got an opportunity to do that with this organization. Everybody is pulling on the same rope there."

The intensity of the spotlight he's stepping into in a hockey town like Edmonton is no mystery to Roloson.

He's a full-fledged alumnus of the Battle of Alberta, having played 70 games just down the road in Calgary during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.

He also knows he'll be welcomed in the Oilers dressing room.

Aside from Peca, he's also pals with Chris Pronger and Marty Reasoner, with whom he played in Worcester during a minor league cup of coffee with St. Louis, and Steve Staios.

Roloson was on his new cellphone yesterday as he packed for San Jose, and even took time to clarify what happened with the old one.

"I had food poisoning," explains Roloson.

"I was trying to call our trainer and, at the same time, things were coming out of my mouth and out of the other end.

"The phone fell in the toilet. I ended up flushing it. I wasn't going to reach in there and grab it."

Say no more.


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