VANCOUVER -- The numbers aren't very flattering to Dwayne Roloson, but apparently they don't tell the whole story, insists Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish.
MacTavish yesterday defended the play of Roloson, who has modest numbers - a 2-3-3 record, 3.03 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage - in eight games he's played since the Oilers gave up a first-round draft pick to Minnesota to get him at the trade deadline.
"He's played very well," MacTavish said yesterday. "He's given us a chance to win every game.
"He's the least of our concerns right now. We just have to make sure we are more consistent and play a better team game in front of him."
Roloson, 36, gave up three goals in a shootout in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Canucks and he didn't look set on Todd Bertuzzi's 1-0 goal to open the scoring. Even so, MacTavish insists Roloson has played well enough, and put an exclamation mark on the statement yesterday by saying he'll give Roloson his ninth consecutive start against the Canucks tonight.
"Dwayne was our best player in the first game in Edmonton (a 4-1 loss Tuesday) and our team was weak," MacTavish said. "(Thursday), Dwayne was average and the team was better. You have to offset that by having more consistent team play. Then, you're not worrying about whether your team is going to jell on the same night your goaltender is."
For his part, Roloson says he feels sharp and is ready to go.
"I don't think that at any time in pro sports you can be content," said Roloson, asked if he's satisfied with his play. "If you're content, you're pretty much out of the league. You've got to work on things and get better every day. That's what I'm trying to do."
Roloson has looked shaky at times in every game he's played, even when he stops the puck. He's been caught out of position often and has an uncanny knack of losing his goal stick at least once a game.
"It's me getting used to the defence and that," Roloson said. "We block a lot of shots. A lot of times, I'm not seeing pucks until they're getting around our D-men, so I'm trying to look around and find pucks. In Minnesota, just our forwards blocked shots, not our D-men. It's a bit of an adjustment."
And the stick?
"That's just the way it is," he said. "I'm a right-handed goalie playing left-handed. I'm actually right-hand dominant. I should be catching with my right hand but I catch with my left.
"It's like one of those Hasek-things. To me, I don't really care if I have a stick or not. The first game I lost it, I remember the D-men were trying to get me the stick. I'm like, 'don't even bother.' I'm better without it anyway."