Give Roy a chance

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

Nobody, even for a second, is billing Mathieu Roy as the answer to the Oilers' puck-moving shortcomings, but if he's given a long enough look, it'll become apparent there's a place for him in the mix.

Roy, 23, scored his first NHL goal in San Jose, but putting pucks in the net isn't his forte. Roy's a long shot if there ever was one after being selected 215th overall from Val-d'Or by the Oilers in the 2003draft.

Having watched Roy at length when he toiled for the Edmonton Roadrunners of the AHL during the lockout in 2004-05, I can say without reservation he can play in this league if allowed to develop.

The six-foot-two, 215-pounder is a team-first guy. Roy will never be a big point-producer, but he hits like a truck, stands up for teammates and never cheats on effort. In many ways, he's a heart-and-soul, backbone guy along the lines of Jason Smith and Steve Staios.

With 172 games in the minors already, Roy, who has been selected to represent Hamilton in the AHL all-star game, has paid his dues. He deserves a chance to stick here.

TURNAROUND NOT TOTAL: Taking five of six points on the last road trip and getting points in five straight games is certainly a start, but coach Craig MacTavish isn't of the mind that this necessarily signals a total turnaround.

With things as tight as they are in the Northwest Division, MacTavish would like to see more of the same before he gets too excited.

"We have to move our game forward and start putting some real good consistency together," MacTavish said.

With just two wins in nine games before they hit the road - opening the trip with a 3-2 OT loss in Vancouver - the results of late are a step in the right direction, nothing more.

"We played pretty well on the road, but the one thing we haven't done is be all that consistent," MacTavish said.

"I get a sense that we have the capability of doing it now. We made some improvements in how we played positionally. If we can be consistent there, we'll be consistently good in our own zone."


Videos

Photos