Every Sunday, Dan O'Neill will be reflecting on the week that was and the week ahead at stlouisblues.com.
This week, O'Neill covers Brian Elliott's unbelievable run, the NHL's "lack of scoring" and more.
ELLIOTT IS JUST SILLY
Brian Elliott has not only been fantastic recently, he’s been unlike any other goaltender in Blues history since joining the club in 2011-12. The former ninth round draft pick (2003) burst onto the scene in St. Louis, posting a franchise record nine shutouts in his first season en route to sharing the 2012 Jennings Trophy with then teammate Jaroslav Halak. His momentum hasn’t stalled. Including this season, three of his five campaigns have yielded a goals against average south of 2.00 and a save percentage north of .920. In just 171 starts, the franchise’s all-time leader in win percentage (97-45-16, .665) is just three shy of becoming only the third goaltender in Blues history to earn 100 wins (Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph). Elliott is already the club’s franchise leader in career shutouts with 22. Remarkably, that’s twice as many clean sheets as Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr posted as a Blue, and Fuhr played 78 more games that Elliott has to this point. As a playful projection, consider that the Blues’ all-time leader in wins, Curtis Joseph, registered 137 in 280 appearances. If Brian Elliott were to reach 280 games played, at his current pace, he would log about 158 career W’s.
THURSDAY’S GAME SUGGESTS SCORING ISN’T THE ONLY ANSWER
Don’t tell me that the League needs more scoring or that the goalie equipment is too big or the net is too small. A game like Thursday is proof that the fans don’t need 6-5 to be entertained. It’s scoring chances, big saves at even bigger times, physicality and post-whistle animosity. Those are the ingredients for a great on-ice product. Goals are one of many condiments at the hockey-fixings counter. Certainly they can enhance an already quality product, but if the product is stale, there is no amount of scoring that can mask it. The NHL doesn’t need to figure out more ways to produce higher goal total, they need to explore how to consistently re-create what we saw on Thursday night.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
As embarrassed as Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo must be, this is a pretty tough save to make. The only thing I can suggest is a lesson from Tom Emanski and Fred McGriff, who may suggest that Korpisalo attack his ground balls (pucks): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUnpy_i-syg