Tuesday, June 06, 2006

One Game Does Not A Series Make

The phrase still holds true today. However, the end result means a little more of a challenge to the Edmonton Oilers and their Cup hopes. Granted, the game itself showed the resolve of the Carolina Hurricanes, made a folk hero out of Cam Ward in Raleigh, and showed that the Oilers really don't like to hold onto big leads.

Yet, the 2-goal performance of Ray Whitney and Rod Brind'Amour, the amazing saves Cam Ward made in the third period, even the first successful penalty shot in the Cup Finals by Chris Pronger will all be overshadowed by one thing, the injury that put Dwayne Roloson out of the Cup Finals.

If you haven't seen it, with about five minutes left to play in the third, Andrew Ladd was coming out of the corner, trying to cut across and score, much like Ales Hemsky did for the fourth Oiler goal. On this instance, Marc-Andre Bergeron met Andrew Ladd when he was just outside the crease area. The hit was a nice, clean hit which sent Ladd flying....right on top of the leg of Dwayne Roloson. The force also caused Roloson's upper body to go flying back....with his leg staying in the same place, causing Roloson to stay down for a while.

Jarret Stoll said to the media that he thought Roloson was stalling to slow the game down because he has been known to do that. If only Stoll was right, then I wouldn't have heard the collective "OH NOES!!" of Edmonton as soon as this happened. Now, I'm not a doctor (yet), but it almost looked like it could be ligament or cartilidge damage to Roloson, which is something you really don't wanna mess around with.

Saying the injury to Roloson was devastating really is an understatement. He's the reason the Oilers have been able to get so far into the Playoffs and really was a front runner for Conn Smythe win or lose. Now, it's up to either Ty Conklin, Jussi Markkanen, or both to shoulder the load for the rest of the series.

Now, there's nothing to say that either Conklin or Markkanen won't be able to have an amazing performance; but the reason Roloson was traded for was because of the sub-par play of both of them. Add that to the momentum that Hurricanes can take away from that amazing 4-goal third period and the miscue of Conklin and Jason Smith behind the net resulting in the game-winner; it's definitely an uphill battle for the Oilers.

All that said, the Oilers are the one team that could strive in a situation like this. Of course, not they will have to get into the game a little more and not blow another big lead to succeed, but this series isn't over by any means. Granted, the odds probably have shifted a little more to favor the Hurricanes, but how much does Vegas know, huh?? This also is a chance for Markkanen and Conklin to show off their stuff and be the hero in this series, which could push the Oilers to the Stanley Cup-- odder things have happened.

One game does not a series make, but the fallout of that one game could pace the rest of the series.

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