Olivier Rodrigue: Recharged or Rusty?
Olivier Rodrigue is accustom to playing a lot of games.
He’s used to being the guy, the only guy between the pipes.
Rodrigue has been a bonafide number one for his entire career who literally loves playing a “shit ton” of minutes.
That’s certainly hasn’t been the case for the last three weeks while Rodrigue has been representing his country in the Czech Republic.
Rodrigue has embraced the journey and his role on the squad, with the same approach in which he plays the game, with class, composure dignity and character.
Obviously, every goaltender wants the net.
They want to be the man, the guy the team relies on to take them to the promise land.
Nevertheless, Rodrigue has found himself in the stands as Canada’s number three.
No one could have predicted that going into the tournament or could they?
Rodrigue’s international experience really speaks for itself, and believe it or not some had the 19 year old penciled in for the starting role during Team Canada’s Summer evaluation camp.
So what has changed since then?
Why is Rodrigue buried in the 3rd slot?
To be brutally honest those are questions for Hockey Canada and their coaching staff and goaltending consultants to answer and a matter of fact every player that plays in that tournament usually struggles for a few games after they return.
The real burning question that Wildcat fans want to know other than why Rodrigue wasn’t given a chance especially after Canada’s shaky start between the pipes, is Olivier Rodrigue going to come back recharged or rusty?
Rodrigue’s short tenure with the Wildcats has been very solid.
On some occasions this season Rodrigue has been downright spectacular. Nonetheless, like every netminder on occasion there have also been some not so stellar moments.
Rodrigue has only played in 21 games for the Cats this season.
That has to be the fewest amount of appearances he has made in the first half of a season in his entire QMJHL career.
Trust me that’s not bad thing.
Rodrigue’s numbers are very respectable, but his last few outings were not his best.
Perhaps Rodrigue did need a break and time away from the crease to regain his composure and perceived confidence.
Don’t get me wrong the kid from Chicoutimi, Quebec is an outstanding goaltender that will no doubt have a brilliant second half with the Cats.
There has always been two different philosophies when it comes to goaltenders that are perceived to be struggling.
A) Work on it in practice, regain confidence without playing games and B) Work on it practice, regain confidence while playing through it. Was Olivier Rodrigue really struggling before he left for World Junior Selection Camp?
Is that why he’s in the 3rd spot?
Should the Wildcats faithful be worried that he will return rusty?
Hell no, Wildcats fans shouldn’t been worried about their guy in the blue paint.
As for his struggles?
Rodrigue had two shaky starts, big deal. Those games and outings are going to happen, it’s how the player responds that shows his true character.
The Cats had a lot going on with tons of distractions during those final two road outings, again it’s easy to point the finger at Rodrigue, but everyone is human.
So rusty or recharged?
Well personally I think the Rodrigue’s hiatus from the net will only strengthen his mindset moving forward for the Cats.
Sure he’s used to logging massive minutes, so this may in fact be a blessing in disguise for the Cats and their championship hopes.
Plus it’s not like an injury, Rodrigue has no doubt stayed very sharpe in practice, but that’s not like playing games.
So how does the rust factor play into to all of this?
Rodrigue will be a little rusty for perhaps the first 5 to 8 mins of the 1st period of his first start back, but that will be about it.
When you are as talented and experienced as Olivier Rodrigue playing the position is like riding a bike, it just comes naturally.
In my opinion the past three weeks will ultimately help the Wildcats go to guy between the pipes.