Repeat after me people. Brian Elliott is the MAN in the St. Louis Blues net until his ability decides he is not. There is and should not be any controversy in net when Jake Allen returns from his lower body(hint hint it's his fucking knee) boo boo. It's February so you know what that means? People spending too much time talking about who should be in net come the stretch time and playoffs.
Easy answer: The one who is playing awesome. That man is Elliott.
Look, I get it. It's no easy to stay away from controversy. People dig it. Page views follow. The Blues lounge gets hot. Fans start to throw more sticks on the fire. I have participated before. I jumped on the Ryan Miller savior train like a freshman in High School gets lost in Hollister at the mall. I will never do so again. Why? Simple. 2.4 goals per game.
The last three years, especially in the playoffs, the Blues have averaged right around two goals per game when it counts. The goaltender doesn't factor in the offensive zone often. He doesn't set up on the point on the power play. He is responsible for stopping shots.
Elliott has been very good for an extended period of time. He's not exactly Dutch in Predator but he may as well wear camo because Moose and goals allowed don't get along. How good has Elliott been? Hint: He's a sinister kid.
Elliott ranks 3rd in save percentage with a .932 mark and 3rd in goals against average at 2.07. In the 13 games he has played in since Allen went down on January 8th against Anaheim, Elliott has posted a save percentage of .92 or better in nine of those games. He has faced 30 shots or more on seven different occasions. Let's dig further.
Against Winnipeg, Elliott saved 32 of 33 shots, with the only puck getting by him because of an awkward bounce and timely hop through his legs. He stopped four shootout attempts, more than the Blues could muster on goal in the other end. At the end of the game against the second worst West team, Elliott slammed his stick on the post in classic Jonathan Quick fashion. He may have been disappointed himself, mad that he didn't tape the People Vs. O.J. Simpson or he could have been furious that his linemates couldn't sink ONE MORE GOD DAMN GOAL. I'm going with door three.
When Allen returns, he is a backup until Elliott's play dictates otherwise. Done. If Ken Hitchcock can't figure that simplistic notion out, he can leave and take his chins with him. This is easier than figuring out who the heck is going to score more on this team. It is easier than figuring out who gets sent down to Peoria when Jaden Schwartz takes flight. It is easier than figuring out who the hell this defenseman is that the Blues brought up. It is easier than instructing Colton Parayko to shoot the puck every time he gets it at the point.
Every time the trade deadline lurks, the same things are being said about the Blues.
*Can they score enough?
*Why do they spend half the game asleep?
*Who is in goal?
Elliott has the goaltending issue solved. The other two are much harder to solve and may involve some drastic measures. Let's shift the controversy, if there has to be one, over to the area that is labeled, "Who is going to score more for this team and when?"
Brian Elliott has earned his way into the #1 spot. Just check the all time shutout ranks in Blues history. It's not Curtis Joseph or Mike Liut. It's Moose. Maybe Cujo should start wearing some Brian Elliott pajamas to even out the respect.