SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers: Roloson or bust

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

PHOENIX -- Thirty-eight in a row.

Mark it down.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish put an end to the Dwayne Roloson guessing game yesterday. There's no longer any need to guess when Roloson will get a game off down the stretch.

He won't.

He's played 29 in a row already and is scheduled to start in all of Edmonton's last nine games.

"We have to use him, there's no choice," said MacTavish. "That's not discounting Jeff (Deslauriers), but based on the way (Roloson) has played and the situation we're in, there's no choice.

"Absolutely, virtually zero choice for me.

"Other people may read it differently, but my mindset on it is he's played great and we need him. We have to go with him.

"To do anything else would be rife with regret, and I'm not prepared to do that."

Besides, Roloson is playing great and says he isn't tired. So why yank him out when the games are so important for somebody who hasn't started a game since Nov. 30?

"I'm committed to using Roli till we've solidified a (playoff) position," said MacTavish. "Then we'll make a decision based on whether we can improve our position or not."

Can't ease the workload

It would take some of the stress off Roloson if the Oilers limited their shots against.

In the last three games, Edmonton allowed 43, 36 and 44 blasts at their goalie. That's way too many.

"You have to look at them (shot clocks) - we give up a lot of shots,"said MacTavish. "A lot of it is protecting the lead; we go into a shell with the puck.

"We just don't want to make a big mistake so we dump it out and we give them repeated opportunities to create offence.

"We have to find a way to be a little more selective in terms of our puck movement, be less inclined to just dump it out and let the other team regroup and come back again."

Reddox cleared to play

Liam Reddox, who missed the last two games after being blindsided by a Ben Eager head shot last Friday in Chicago, has been cleared to play again.

He had a skate yesterday and says he felt good, but the club is being cautious given that the rookie doesn't want to lose his spot and would probably say he felt good if his leg was broken.

"We have to be careful about his over-exuberance to get back in the lineup given the fact that he was really rattled," said MacTavish. "He said he was fine (yesterday). He also said he was fine the next day (after the hit), too. We have to be careful."

He had five points in seven games before the injury.


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