Has a goaltender ever gone from playing for Team Canada to scuffling this badly in the post-season?
Those who wondered if the Acadie-Bathurst Titan's big gamble in adding Edmonton Oilers prospect Olivier Roy for this season would backfire must be taking a few victory laps. Roy (pictured), who went into the world junior as Canada's No. 1 netminder and finished it watching from the bench, was pulled for the third consecutive game Monday after giving up just two goals on four shots as the Titan lost 6-4 to the Victoriaville Tigres to fall behind 3-0 in the first-round series. Victoriaville finished 17 points behind the Titan in the regular season, too.
Roy's team wears a large share of it, of course, but a Team Canada goalie allowing 12 goals on 46 shots at a critical stretch of the season goes beyond the pale. Name another netminder who represented Canada internationally at Christmastime and then was a key culprit in a fast first-round exit three or so months later.
Fellow Team Canada goalie Mark Visentin and the Niagara IceDogs seemed poised to go two or three rounds in the OHL playoffs. The 2010 edition's netminders, Jake Allen and Martin Jones, each went at least two rounds in the post-season, with Jones leading the Calgary Hitmen to the WHL championship. Ditto the '09 tandem of Chet Pickard and Dustin Tokarski.
A season earlier, current Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Bernier, who struggled with Team Canada, was on a Lewiston Maineiacs team that lost in the first round in the QMJHL. The catch is Bernier led Lewiston to the QMJHL championship the season prior, so yes, Roy's tribulations seem relatively unprecedented.
A better question is whether we can fairly, if retroactively, wonder what Roy's struggles says about Hockey Canada selects its goalies for the tournament the same way it does with defenceman and forwards. Roy's rate stats (2.79 goals-against, .911 save percentage) were no better than those of his backup, Robert Steeves (2.67, .914). In any event, the Titan are in peril of getting precious little return on the five draft choices they peddled to Lewiston last summer.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.