A Kid Named Ells

Some people in life always seem to get the short end of the stick. No matter what they do or what they accomplish they can never seem to catch a break. That is how Brian Elliott's time with the Blues has gone. No matter how well he has played, teaming with Halak to win the Jenning's trophy, having a career save percentage of .912, winning a first round playoff series, he has never been given the chance to be a true number one goalie. I want you to think about that for a second. He actually won a playoff series, something a Blues goalie hasn't done in a decade, and the front office response was "thanks but no thanks".

I will grant you at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, only after the Ryan Miller debacle, Doug Armstrong proclaimed that Elliot had earned the right to be this team's starting goalie. So basically the Blues did everything they could think of to keep Ells as a backup, including a trade that brought Steve Ott town, and only after everything blew up in their face did they decide to let him have the reigns. That lasted about two months until a forward came crashing into the crease and put Elliott, and his bum knee, back on the bench. Even though he made a full recovery the team decided that they were going to go back to a 1a 1b tandem with Jake Allen being the clear favorite. Now don't get me wrong I am a Jake Allen fan. I think some day he will be a championship caliber goalie and will be the unchallenged starter for many years to come. I just don't think he is quite there yet. And by thrusting him into the spotlight, before he is truly ready, is only going to do him more harm than good.

I can't help but wonder how good Brian Elliott would have been if he had been given half the support received by basically every other goalie to play for this franchise in the last ten years. Can you imagine what those actions would do to a person's confidence, let alone a NHL goalie. First you come to this organization on a piddly one-year 600,000 dollar contract. You then proceed to set an NHL record for having the highest single-season save percentage, lowest GAA average in the NHL, and lead the league in save percentage. Oh yeah you also come in and lead your team to a first round playoff series win. Its only the first time that's happened in like ten years and hasn't happened since. No big whoop. The next year you do get a nice bump in pay and even though you still have to split starts you have to be thinking things are starting to look up. No the 2013 playoffs didn't go like you wanted but I think we can all agree goal tending wasn't the glaring problem. Next year you get your 100th career win, and become the fifth fastest NHL goalie to get 25 shutouts. But then February came and the front office, in all their wisdom, decided that the missing link was a true number one goalie. Uh HELLO, WTF about me. Ryan Miller came into town hailed as the next savior and promptly crapped down both his legs during a winnable first round play-off series. He then left town just as quickly as he had came, his own legacy being an ill-planned tweet. Finally after exhausting every other option the Blues name you the starter for the 2014-15 season only to take it back after a very unlucky injury. Unfortunately even after battling back the coaching staff decides to ride the hot hand and put all their hopes and dreams in a rookie net minder. Let me know how that works out for you, will you please? After a playoff melt down you have to be thinking that management will finally come to their senses and give a veteran goalie one last chance to lead this team to the promised land. Wrong again. You get about thirteen starts in 42 games, only five of which are at home. But hey who's counting.

Throughout this bizarre journey Brian Elliot has remained extremely professional. I know if I were him and they pulled this crap on me I would have a very hard time biting my tongue. Every time they put a camera on me I would have a hard time not dishing out a couple cheap shots against management. But not the kid Ells. That ain't his style. I have never been more proud of him than I was during his post game interview after laying the smack down on the LA queens, I mean kings. Elliott stood on his head that entire game and excelled in the shootout. A feat that is even more admiral considering his past history. But instead of reminding JK and Panger about his mistreatment by this club or gloating about his victory, he stood up there like a man and gave all the credit to his teammates. Describing how his captain sacrificed his body to make a block and how cousin Eddie laid out to stop another. He acted like a true team player and did not show the slightest bit of disdain or animosity. This man deserves to be a starting goalie and hopefully after Jake's unfortunate injury Hitch and Armie will finally give this kid a chance.

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