What do the Blues do with Elliott?
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03-04-2013, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Crested Butte, CO
Goaltending is about confidence. Do we know that Elliott has the physical attributes capable of stopping the puck at an extremely high level? Of course we do, we saw the greatest regular season from a goaltender in NHL history from Elliott last year.
What happened to him was that first period of Game 2 against LA. I know it's fashionable to forget, but Elliott was stellar in Game 1 and got the game's #2 star (behind Quick, who was also great in that game). Then Petro is hurt, the whole team has the sense of doom about it, and the team collapsed. The whole team, not just Elliott. 4-0 after one period in Game 2 due to horrendous giveaways. This was literally his first awful period of the entire season. Neither he nor the team got its confidence back, and LA was rolling and confident. You'd have to be an idiot to think Elliott was the reason the Blues lost to LA. The whole team collapsed in that first period of Game 2 and the season was over. Coming into this year, he didn't play elsewhere and he was rusty and it showed. Knowing he was rusty fed into self-doubt, and he's suddenly fighting the puck everywhere and letting in softies.
Again, it's a function of confidence. ALL goalies go through fluctuations, even Hall of Famers. I'm glad we've avoided listing awful 5-10 game stretches of Hall of Fame goalies because it should be obvious to everyone they all have them at some point in their careers. Not saying Elliott is a Hall of Famer, what I'm saying is goalies who go through terrible stretches don't make that goalie anything but a normal goalie. Halak was absolutely putrid for a similar number of games to start the season last year, and he got his confidence back and finished with a very strong campaign. There was nowhere near this amount of obsession and focus on Halak at that time. It's crazy disproportional.
The question isn't "Can Brian Elliott play well in goal?" We know the answer is yes. The question is "Can he gain his confidence back?" If he does, there are only a few absolute haters here who would still despise the guy (and they would). Most would breathe a sigh of relief. If he doesn't, it's obvious he'll lose his job sooner or later. If the organization feels more comfortable with Allen, they'll call him up and waive Elliott.
Thus what we really are debating is how many more opportunities Elliott gets this year to get his confidence back. Some people say zero more opportunities. They have already decided Elliott will never get confidence back so why risk any more losses?
I'm not in the zero more opportunities camp. I think you give him a game in the back-to-backs for a few more tries before you completely give up on the guy. It hurts that he has to play in front of a mentally weak core group like this, but it isn't going to be easy either way to claw back. Give him a few more tries and then if after about 3-4 more chances he's not responding, give Allen a shot and put Elliott on waivers to Peoria. If he gets claimed, he gets claimed. Next year, Binnington and maybe Lundstrom can split time in Peoria. Binnington can get starter minutes right away.
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