Oilers lose Roloson for rest of the playoffs

Updated: June 6, 2006, 2:58 AM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Edmonton Oilers' other goalies are about to get a whole lot busier.

 Dwayne Roloson
Roloson

Backups no more, either Ty Conklin or Jussi Markkanen will have to step in for No. 1 netminder Dwayne Roloson, who was knocked out of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night with an injured right knee.

Roloson, who had played every minute of Edmonton's surprising playoff run, was hurt in the third period of a 5-4 loss to Carolina. Moments after the game, Oilers coach Craig MacTavish delivered the grim news.

"Goalie's not good. Won't be back in the series," he said.

The team didn't disclose further details on the nature of Roloson's injury. The 36-year-old journeyman was receiving medical attention after the game and was unavailable for comment.

With the pace frantic and the score 4-4, Hurricanes rookie forward Andrew Ladd carried the puck into the Edmonton zone and cut across in the front of the net. He was met there by trailing defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, who unloaded a big hit from behind that drove Ladd into Roloson with 5:54 remaining and knocked the net off its moorings.

"It was just like every other game," Bergeron said of the potential series-changing play. "That guy is coming at the net and you don't want to let him go through. It's unfortunate Rollie got hurt."

Roloson tested the leg but struggled to get back up after he crouched down.

MacTavish compared the injury to one sustained by forward Radek Dvorak, who was hurt in Game 2 of Edmonton's second-round series against San Jose. The fourth-liner sat out eight games before returning for the fourth game of the conference finals.

Roloson was replaced by Conklin, who had been stuck on the Edmonton bench for the entire postseason.

 Ty Conklin
Conklin

"I know Jus and Conks have played in practice really hard," forward Ryan Smyth said. "That's the opportunity you get and we stick with them."

Conklin hadn't played since the regular-season finale April 17, when he allowed two goals on 18 shots in Edmonton's 4-2 victory over Colorado. That snapped a 19-game stretch of inactivity for Conklin, whose previous appearance was March 7 against Dallas.

"I do feel like I can help the team," said Conklin, who allowed the winning goal on a broken play in the final minute of the game. "Just stay prepared and work hard. This isn't the first time."

Markkanen sat out the last 23 games of the regular season -- not even dressing 11 times. He has not seen game action since Feb. 12.

"You try to prepare as good as you can," he said. "I think I can do it but you have to wait and see."

After Conklin, Markkanen and Michael Morrison struggled in net, Edmonton acquired Roloson on March 8 from Minnesota for a first-round draft choice and a conditional pick. Roloson allowed 13 goals in losing his first three games with the Oilers but dramatically improved when it counted.

"Our goaltenders are capable of coming in here and playing well, both Jussi and Ty," MacTavish said. "Just passed on to Rollie that, 'Job well done and it's up to us to take it from here.' "

Roloson, who stopped 19 shots Monday, was staked to a 3-0 lead but couldn't protect it. He entered with a 12-5 mark in the playoffs with a 2.22 goals-against average.

Conklin allowed the decisive goal with 31.1 seconds remaining after a puck flub behind the goal with teammate Jason Smith led to Rod Brind'Amour's winner into an empty net.

"I just held onto to the puck too long. I didn't make the play quickly, you know?" Conklin said. "It's not a mistake I think I would normally make."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE