No joy in cheers for Roli

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

He wanted more than anything to be standing in the goal crease, one-legged or not, when the Edmonton Oilers filed onto the ice at the RBC Center last night.

Instead, Dwayne Roloson was left to cheerlead when the puck dropped.

Worse yet, left to try to console his teammates in the aftermath of a 3-1 loss without having had a chance to do anything out on the ice. He'd won 12 games to help get the Oilers to the final before being knocked out of the Final with a sprained right knee in Game 1.

"Anytime you're injured, it's tough," said Roloson, who'd started every playoff game for the Oilers when he went down.

"As an athlete, that's the hardest thing. You're not able to do what it is you do to help your team win. At the same time, I just tried to do whatever I could, whether that was cheerleading or slapping guys on the back.

"Whatever it took ... unfortunately we came up a little bit short, but this is an experience we can use and get better from."

Roloson, 35, had enjoyed a post-season worthy of Conn Smythe Trophy consideration when he went down and stayed down after defenceman Marc-Andrew Bergeron rode Carolina's Andrew Ladd into him late in the third period of what would be a 5-4 loss on June 4.

For all his numbers - a 12-5 record, 2.33 goals-against average and a saves percentage of .927 - the loss of Roloson wasn't nearly the end of the Oilers. Not with Jussi Markkanen stepping in.

That's something Roloson's particularly proud of.

"There's so many stories in that locker room, like Jussi coming in and playing as remarkable as he did," Roloson said.

"You've got so many guys like Rem Murray, Todd Harvey, Matt Greene, you name it. So many guys did everything they could to help us win games all the way along."

While last night was dim and disappointing, Roloson, who needs a new contract this summer, sees a bright future for the team that brought him in from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline in March.

"We've got a nucleus to build on and it's something to look forward to," he said.


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