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GENE'S BLOG: Hitting 100

In his latest blog, Gene Principe talks about Cam Talbot joining some elite company

by Gene Principe / Special to EdmontonOilers.com

ST. LOUIS, MO - After Brayden Schenn didn't score in the shootout, Cam Talbot delivered an emphatic fist pump. The Talbot stop led to the Edmonton win by a 3-2 score. Our Sportsnet crew caught Milan Lucic grabbing the puck while others were celebrating. My immediate reaction was Milan had gone after the puck for Talbot. It was going to be a souvenir for the Talbots and for Cam after his 100th win. The victorious netminder quickly corrected me.

"He didn't go get it for me," said Talbot. "We have a wall with a puck from every win. Langer (Jeff Lang) the head equipment manager gets it and puts it on the wall. I will likely get another one." 

There won't be another one, in reference to wins, like the one Talbot had Wednesday night. It was special for many reasons. First and foremost, it puts him in a category only four others goalies have entered in the 40-year history of the franchise. Cam hit the century mark to join some pretty elite netminding success. 

Most wins by Edmonton Oiler goalies 

226 - Grant Fuhr 
167 - Bill Ranford 
147 - Tommy Salo 
143 - Andy Moog 
100 - Cam Talbot 

The netminder has spoken before about how much it meant to him to join not only big Oilers names but some of the greats in the game. That might be something Talbot will reflect on a bit more after the season or after his career. For now, he was more focused on the immediate result. A win. Period. 

"I felt really good. Even though they buried a couple early. I just tried to battle," said Talbot. "They get the third one and maybe the game doesn't turn out the way it did." 

Video: EDM@STL: Talbot shuts down Schenn to win SO

Well they didn't and Cam Talbot made sure of that. Wayne Gretzky was at the game. A 99 in the stands and 99 in the win column for Cam. The Oilers goalie wasn't even aware he was one away from 100. Once he was informed the wait to hit the century mark was longer than he could have imagined. Partly it was due to the play of Mikko Koskinen. Partly it was due to the play of Cam Talbot.

"When I went through a rough time I just leaned on family and friends to help me through it," explained Talbot.

What also helped was a chat with the new head coach.

"Hitch spoke to me," is the way Talbot described it. "He told me his teams have played against me and I am a good goalie. That helped with my confidence".

His play did the rest against St.Louis.

"I'm really impressed how he played," said the game-tying goal scorer Oscar Klefbom. "It's two points on the line. The way he stepped up. We know Talbs is going to be there for us." 

Like he was during the 2016-17 season. Talbot rattled off 42 wins. A franchise record replacing the 40 once held by Grant Fuhr. He was stellar in backstopping the Oilers to a 103-point season and a win away from the conference final. It wasn't that long ago but I'm sure it seemed like it for the player who was picked up from New York at the 2015 draft. What's the old saying, tough times don't last but tough people do.

"He's been unbelievable. A great teammate," said Zack Kassian. "Off the ice no moping around. It truly shows the character of a guy. He always been like that". 

The timing of the win made sure 26 dads, who followed the team from Dallas to St. Louis, went home happy. Yet the happiest of them all was likely Mark Talbot.

"My dad never played hockey before so this trip was more about father-son bonding," said Talbot. "The odd time we'll talk hockey. I know when he goes into one of our meetings he's amazed at what they (the coaches) are talking about and how fast we pick things up." 

Talbot didn't pick up the milestone victory as fast as he wanted. However, the 31-year-old did get it Wednesday night. Earning a spot in the Edmonton Oilers history books by hitting 100.

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