Cam Talbot is not tired. At least not physically anyway.
All this talk about Cam Talbot and whether fatigue is becoming an issue reminds me of similar talk which surrounded Washington’s Braden Holtby with much the same argument after the 2014-15 season when he started 73 games. Some suggested he needed rest, but his playoff performance that year was sick. 13GP and a 1.71 GAA with a .944 SV%! I dare say he was not fatigued. Last year the Caps used him in 66 starts. He tied legendary Martin Brodeur’s 48 wins in a season record and was named the Vezina Trophy winner and still was a rock in the playoffs.
One only need to refer to Holtby’s career post season numbers (wow) and you’ll appreciate my perception that the Holtbeast, as he’s called in DC, is not fatigued at playoff time. There has never been and nor should anyone place blame on Holtby’s goaltending as a reason for the Caps unsuccessful playoff runs. I would be willing to bet this will be the case here in Edmonton as well in a couple of weeks. Talbot and his “fatigue” will or should be the least of the Oilers worries though.
I see the Oilers’ Cam Talbot in much the same light at this stage of his career as Holtby. His physical game is not in question no matter how many starts he is in for. He’s still young and keeps himself in great shape. Much like Holtby, he tends to play better when seeing a lot of action. However, similar to Holtby, I’ve noticed he also is very hard on himself and takes bad games quite personally. While a noble trait, it’s for this reason that he and Holtby do require more of a mental break at times.
The more a goalie plays, the more of a chance you’ll see a bad game every now and then. It’s simple math. Each guy is different. This narrative that is running in Edmonton right now, with Talbot and his rest, is way overblown and is actually counter productive. Honestly, if you, as a coach, were concerned about Talbot’s fatigue; you would have been worrying about it before this week. And that should tell you where McLellan ranks it on his list of concerns. Would I have sat Talbot in favor of Brossoit in Colorado last game? Sure I would have, but McLellan is the one talking with Talbot. Case closed.