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Hitchcock downplays news of Elliott injury

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 1:52 PM

By Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent / Blues vs. Sharks series blog

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Hitchcock downplays news of Elliott injury
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Maybe Ken Hitchcock's selection of a goalie for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the San Jose Sharks became easier with the news of Brian Elliott's upper-body injury.

But Hitchcock said it's nothing that will alter a decision as to who starts, because Elliott is in play along with Jaroslav Halak. The injury is one that Hitchcock said, "is from weeks ago when he fell into the net."

The Blues had a double practice session that lasted 90 minutes. They split the time up and Elliott was on the ice for the first session. He took a good amount of work, but the team decided to keep him off the ice when they returned.

"He's got a little bit of an upper-body issue, day-to-day," Hitchcock added. "Rather than just try to squeeze the big, long [practice], we took him [out after] the short one and we'll get him back out here tomorrow or the next day and see how it is. He'll be fine, though.

"We didn't want to aggravate it. We've been nursing it for a week. We didn't want to take him too far down the lineup. He got a lot of work in the first 45 minutes."

Elliott led the NHL in goals-against average (1.56) and save percentage (.940) this season after going 23-10-4. Hitchcock said Elliott will still be up for selection for Thursday's opener.

"It's more maintenance," Hitchcock said. "We've been nursing this thing for a week now. It's not a big deal. We knew how long this day was going to be and we just felt like, 'Man, why cool a guy down?' If we're going to continue to practice at this tempo, we might bring a third guy in."

The team recalled Jake Allen from Peoria of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis but only to participate in the practices. Hitchcock has moved up a day for naming a starter after initially saying he would wait until Thursday morning.

"I'm going to move it up a day so you guys can write about something," Hitchcock said, joking. "I'll give it to you on Wednesday. I'm going to give you a little treat."

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