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GENE'S BLOG: Goals Oriented Season

In his latest blog, Gene Principe talks about the season that Cam Talbot has been having

by Gene Principe / Special to

"I would have said you were crazy," was the way Cam Talbot answered the question about how many games he's played this season. The netminder added another one to the GP column Wednesday night versus Florida. That makes it 54 games and counting.

"The more I play the less I think about it," explained the Oiler. "I feel pretty good and despite the fact Laurent (Brossoit) played versus Tampa I'm good with playing back to backs."

The Oilers wrapped up their eighth back to back in Florida. Only one other time (Dec. 8 in Philadelphia) has Cam not started the opener of games on consecutive nights.

"I think there has been very good communication between everyone. I get a chance to rest on optionals and as long as I'm feeling good I want to play."

The games are piling up and so are the shots (1594) and the minutes(3203). Doing all of this in a particularly busy schedule has been even more impressive.

"The grind is something," said Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo. "There has been a lot of travel in a short time and there isn't a real opportunity to practice" added the soon to be 38 year old goaltender.

"Plus, he (Cam) is young (29) and I don't blame him for wanting to play as much as he does."

The thing is, Talbot has been waiting his entire career to be this busy. Something his former NY Rangers teammate Brian Boyle understands.

"Being a backup you just never know when you are going to get those chances," said the Lightning forward. "I mean, you could wait months or years to have a chance to be number one. Cam has always been a hard working guy from when I first met him in NY and he deserves this."

Good things come to those who wait and after waiting those good things are coming to Cam Talbot. Let's start with 30 wins (31 after Florida victory). He becomes the fifth Oilers netminder along with Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph, Tommy Salo and Bill Ranford to reach that number.

"I never had over 21 wins, so 30 was a big goal."

Wins weren't the only thing the goaltender is watching.

"I keep track of victories, saves, goals against and shutouts. It's something I do every year."

In fact, Talbot has been playing the numbers game since he was in the Rangers minor league system.

"I was in Hartford (AHL) and Benoit Allaire our goalie coach would set up realistic goals for us. At the end of the year we would go over the final numbers" explained Talbot.

The goaltender is blazing through his career best totals in rapid fashion. His season of success started in the summer when he took a different approach to his training methods.

"I had worked out in the off season on my own but I started working with a trainer Nick Poloniato in Hamilton at SST (Sports Specific Training), which is owned by Steve Bodanis. There were three phases to my program and we would check the results from each phase as we reached the end of it," said Talbot. "Now I work out more in a group that includes Nashville defenceman Ryan Ellis. Yet, I also spend time separated from them working on goalie specific training."

When he wasn't training, Talbot spent some time setting his goals for this season. He understandably wanted to keep them quiet but whatever they were it would be hard to believe he didn't surpass them in a goals-oriented season.

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