Roli is ready to play

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Dwayne Roloson knew what was coming.

He wasn't even going to wait for the question.

"If anyone asks me about my knee, I'm walking away," said the Edmonton Oilers goaltender after an informal skate at the University of Alberta yesterday.

It's obvious his sense of humour is intact.

As far as the knee goes, that's getting better as well.

Roloson, 36, worked out for the second time yesterday since ripping up his knee in the opening game of the Stanley Cup final in June.

By all accounts he'll be ready to go when the puck drops to start the 2006-2007 NHL season.

"When I got hurt they said three months and that was the fifth, which is today," Roloson said. "I think we're ahead of the game and we'll see how it goes when camp opens up and I get evaluated again."

With a new three-year contract in hand, Roloson will head into camp as the Oilers undisputed starting goaltender.

After being acquired last year prior to the trading deadline from the Minnesota Wild, the Simcoe, Ont., native played all but one game for the Oilers before getting hurt.

"As a team I think we want to try and build on what we started last year," Roloson said. "Unfortunately we lost a few guys, but we got some new guys to take their place. That's part of what's going to happen in the summertime."

If there was any doubt whether Roloson would be able to make a full recovery from the injury, it's unlikely the Oilers would have given the veteran goaltender a three-year deal.

The biggest hurdle for Roloson is probably trusting the knee once the games start for real, although Jarret Stoll helped with that on Monday.

"After I got run yesterday by Stollie, I think all the mental issues are gone," joked Roloson. "Stollie had a little wipeout and ran into me. I think that pretty much put me over the hump where I don't really have to worry about it.

"There is going to be some tweaking here and there, but the doctors told me that before I started rehabbing. As long as the pain goes away it'll be fine."

Without Chris Pronger and Jaroslav Spacek in front of him this season, the Oilers will need big things from their goaltender if they hope to repeat last year's success.

Pronger requested a trade due to family reasons following the season, while Spacek signed with the Buffalo Sabres.

Unlike his situation in Minnesota, Roloson is expected to carry the load for the Oilers in goal this season. It's a role he earned with his exceptional play last year and one he's looking forward to.

"As a goalie you want to play every game. Realistically I was only in it for half a year last year," Roloson said.

"You train hard in the summer for however many games you're going to play -- whether it's one or 82, you still have to train the same way and you have to be physically ready."


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