Adieu, Mathieu

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Mathieu Garon didn't want to leave, but he couldn't stay.

Not like this.

Not sitting on the bench or in the press box every night.

Not having to share a net in practice, spending half the workout standing along the side boards, getting cold, getting rusty, hoping for crease time like a mongrel hopes for scraps.

So yesterday's early-morning news that he'd been traded to Pittsburgh for goalie Dany Sabourin, minor league centre Ryan Stone and a fourth round draft pick, is equal parts blessing and curse.

Garon's torn between his fondness for Edmonton and the Oilers and the frustration of watching his career wither away on a three-goalie team.

"It's never good to leave teammates and a team and a city that you like, but at the same time it's going to be good for me,"Garon said in the Denver hotel lobby before catching a cab to the airport.

"I'm going to get the chance to play more.

"It's always a surprise, but at the same time you expect it to happen. It's hard. I like my teammates, but I'm sure I'm going to make friends there, too."

On the surface it doesn't make sense that the Oilers tried to cure their three-goalie problem by trading for a goalie, but GM Steve Tambellini told everyone yesterday that Sabourin won't be coming to Edmonton.

They'll either flip him in another deal in the next day or so or ship him to Springfield.

"I don't plan on bringing Danny to Edmonton," said Tambellini.

"We'll see what happens in the next couple of days."

Garon will split duties with Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh. Sabourin has already played 19 games this year.

"They have a good team and I know a couple of players there," said Garon, who was sensational for Edmonton last year, dominating shootouts and taking the starting job away from Dwayne Roloson.

It made for an uncomfortable situation at times, and that was before the Oilers added Jeff Deslauriers to the mix this year. It wasn't long into the three-man rotation that Garon started to slip.

"I just think it's a fabric of opportunity," said Craig MacTavish.

"Roli and Mathieu are very close in ability, Roli just got on a roll. Mathieu got on a roll last year. Mathieu's a very capable goalie; there's not a lot to decide between the two. Roli was just a little sharper earlier and he got the net more.

"I think Mathieu was a guy who was affected the most. He really got a lot of his confidence through practice time, with Roli playing the majority of the games, he got one net and Mathieu ended up sharing the other (with Deslauriers). I think it ended up affecting him, maybe not physically, but psychologically."

Everybody in Edmonton knew the three goalie system wasn't healthy and that something had to give, so about the only thing about this that catches anyone by surprise about a trade is that it took this long to make.

"I knew from training camp that something was going to happen," said Garon. "But you never know when or where."

Or who.

Management wanted to solve the situation earlier, but had to wait until the goalies solved it first.

"At the beginning of the year I wanted all three of them to know that I came in here with no preconceived opinion of anybody," said Tambellini. "I was looking for somebody to take the ball and run with it. Overall I think Roli has done a good job for us.

"I didn't want to go into the second half of the season with the same situation."


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