There's a fine line between rest and rust and Craig MacTavish believe Dwayne Roloson is standing right on it.
So, after giving Roloson time off to rediscover his form, he's giving the veteran netminder a chance to demonstrate his progress tonight against Chicago.
"He's ready to go and I'm anxious to get him back in," said MacTavish, who challenged his starter to be better after a 4-2 loss to Minnesota, then rode Mathieu Garon's hot hand for three straight games.
"He's a consummate pro. I'm very confident when he goes in he's going to play well. He really worked hard, as he always does.
"He seldom has this opportunity, where the other goaltender comes in and plays well and gives him the opportunity to get recharged. He's used that time very effectively and efficiently and I expect him to be terrific when he gets in the net."
ANXIOUS TO GET BACK IN
Roloson is as anxious as he's ever been to get back in the nets.
"Of course, it's part of being an athlete," he said. "You want to play and you want to play well. When you're not playing it's frustrating."
Roloson, who's been on the bench for five of Edmonton's last six games, says he's the type of goalie who'd rather play through a rough patch, but he admits the time off did him good.
"It's really not my call, it's up to the coach or the GM or whoever is making it," he said. "Personally, I'd like to play through it, but this way I was able to spend a lot of time with (goalie coach) Pete Peters and work on things to get better. In the last three or four days in practice I felt pretty good."
It's safe to assume that Roloson, 3-9-1 with a 3.21 GAA and .890 save percentage, is on a pretty short leash right now. A bad start tonight and who knows if it'll be another four games until he sees the ice again. And it's not like the Oilers are offering their keepers much help (Garon was 1-2 in the three games).
A guy in Roloson's position would have every right to be nervous.
"I think the the old saying is true: if you're nervous, you're not prepared,"he said. "It's OK to have butterflies, but not nerves."
His mental toughness could be his greatest asset right now.
"That's a big part of coming through something like this," he said. "When you're young you don't understand what's happening. Now, when you have experience, you know it's just a matter of trying to find out ways to fix it."