SUN Hockey Pool

Roli's playing brain games

JOHN SHORT

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

Dwayne Roloson is doing his best to keep the Edmonton Oilers brain-trust off balance.

In the final analysis, one sprawling save by the veteran goaltender was the moment that defeated St. Louis yesterday and shook the Edmonton Oilers out of their funk for at least 24 hours.

If Brad Boyes had scored from directly in front, the slow-starting Oilers would have trailed 3-0 and any chance of a comeback would have oozed right down the drain.

The traffic jam still exists in Edmonton's net, and it's still a three-headed monster, but Roloson's recent performances have changed the dimensions quite a bit.

At first, it was not considered a mystery that he was being shopped this season. It seemed logical to give rival teams a chance to develop interest in a trade.

Roloson came to camp as a likely stand-by to Mathieu Garon, accomplished and valuable but too expensive for that role. Besides, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers was seen as Edmonton's cage guardian of the future and had done enough to earn a major-league contract.

Some things do not change --Drouin-Deslauriers is still the Oilers' netminding future-- but, fortunately, some things do.

Now, if Garon suddenly receives a series of consecutive starts, the guessing will begin again: who's on the block?

It would have to be Garon.

Baseball in Katz future?

Word keeps leaking that Oilers owner Daryl Katz wants control of Edmonton's baseball future.

If so, it's part of a good-news, bad-news scenario.

Surely, Katz or any other human would be an improvement on current Edmonton Cracker-Cats owner Dan Orlich.

The bad news is that Orlich, seemingly, has a stranglehold on Telus Field.

It's discouraging that he has manipulated himself into that position.

My limited understanding of his agreement with the City of Edmonton is that some minor and amateur baseball teams were free to compete at Telus Field when the Cracker-Cats were absent in the Northern League or Golden League or Fantasy League . . . whatever.

The specific accesses were consistently denied, but Orlich remains in control of the lease.

You'll never convince me that Independent baseball leagues or teams will thrive here.

Maybe this is a dream in technicolour, but don't be surprised if Edmonton one day gets a chance to return to Triple-A baseball. Katz and his deep pockets would provide an automatic welcome for us.

But Orlich, no matter how long it takes, must be removed from the city's sports canvas.

A trip to the edge of the city and a firm instruction that he should never return, even for a brief visit, would be a good place to start.

ORV NOW WITH PADRES

Edmonton's Orv Franchuk, who recently earned a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox, signed on last week as a hitting instuctor of the San Diego Padres' Double-A franchise in San Antonio.

Last year, he was in the Houston organization. He's done a good job at every stop. No reason why it should be different next season.


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