Oilers trim to two netminders

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Perhaps the judge in Phoenix has decided that playing goal for the Oilers counts as timed served and they donít have to worry about losing Nikolai Khabibulin to those DUI charges.

Or perhaps watching Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk return from a road trip with points in all three games, despite being outshot 39-32, 41-22 and 41-27, was enough to make them finally commit.

Whatever the reason, the three-headed monster is dead. For the first time since the 2007-08 season, the Edmonton Oilers are down to two goalies.

ďWe had a feeling they had to make a decision at some point,Ē said 26-year-old Jeff Deslauriers, a few minutes after the Oilers placed him on waivers Monday. ďIím disappointed, obviously, because I felt part of the family here. Iíve been part of the organization since Ď02, thatís all I know.Ē

The Oilers couldnít carry on the way they were, giving up a valuable roster spot to a third goalie who never plays, so they decided, after three years, to finally get off the pot and do something about it. Deslauriers will have to wait until 10 am Tuesday to see if another NHL team picks him up. If not, heíll be assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons.

ďWeíre at a crossroads, I donít know whatís going to happen,Ē said Deslauriers, adding all he knows is his next game wonít be for the Oilers. ďItís going to be a new start and a new challenge for sure.Ē

And a major relief for Dubnyk, who didnít like the crowded crease, either. He didnít even know Deslauriers was on waivers until he noticed he wasnít on the ice a few moments before practice on Monday.

ďA little bit of a surprise, obviously, for everybody here,Ē said Dubnyk. ďBut something had to happen at some point. Iím just excited that it wasnít me. Jeff is a friend of mine, so itís kind of mixed emotions. It could have been either one of us.Ē

Itís hard to imagine Deslauriers not having a serious hate-on for the management given the way heís been treated here almost since Day 1. First he grew cobwebs while assigned to opposition farm teams that couldnít care less about his development, or toiled in the East Coast League, because Edmonton didnít have their own AHL program. Then he sat around for months in two different three-goalie messes in the NHL. Now heís been told heís the odd man out.

But heís taking the high road ó a wise move in case he doesnít get picked up and remains in the organization.

ďIíve been put in different situations since my debut in the NHL with them,Ē said Deslauriers, selected 31st overall in 2002. ďI went through a three-goalie situation in my first year (with Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson), my second year I was expecting to play 20 games and it turned out to be 48 (when Khabibuinís back went out), and this year a three-goalie situation again. I think you just grow up mentally.

ďItís through adversity that you learn to improve yourself.Ē

Somebody asked him if the Oilers could have handled their goaltending situation a little better, which is akin to asking Danny Maciocia if he could have handled the Eskimos a little better.

ďThatís not a question for me, you should talk to them about that,Ē said Deslauriers. ďFor me I had no control over the situation. Three goalies is never a good way. Two times in three years? Iím lucky enough I should go buy a lottery ticket or something.

ďBut Iím not ready to give up. My goal is to play in the NHL. Where, I donít know.Ē


Videos

Photos