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Blues' Elliott week-to-week; Brodeur in as tryout

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- With goalie Brian Elliott week-to-week because of a lower-body injury he sustained Tuesday, the St. Louis Blues have announced they will bring in Martin Brodeur on a tryout basis.

Elliott's injury will not require surgery, according to the Blues. With Elliott to be out for an undetermined time frame, St. Louis might turn to Brodeur to help rookie Jake Allen handle the workload.

Brodeur, 42, will join the Blues on Friday for a morning skate prior to their game against the Edmonton Oilers at Scottrade Center. He will continue to practice for at least a week before St. Louis decides whether to offer him a contract.

The Blues also recalled goalie Jordan Binnington from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

Martin Brodeur
RECORD: 688-394-105-71
GAA: 2.24 | SVP: .912

"I think we looked at our schedule and we're playing four games a week," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told "We have [Binnington] in the American Hockey League who's just getting his career started. We've got [Niklas Lundstrom with the Alaska Aces] in the East Coast Hockey League who's just getting his career started, and we've got [Allen] in the NHL who's getting his career started.

"In fairness to all three goalies, they need to have some support. Marty offers, depending on how he looks, he offers organizational support. I have a background with him, so we know each other."

Elliott made 16 saves and left with the Blues leading the Senators 2-0 with 6:02 remaining in the second period; the Senators rallied for a 3-2 shootout win. He was involved in a scramble for the puck in the Blues crease when Senators forward Erik Condra tumbled over him, causing Elliott's leg to buckle underneath him.

Elliott skated off on his own power after trying to convince head athletic trainer Ray Barile he could continue.

The Blues will give the reins to Allen, who is 6-2-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Brodeur, who won an NHL-record 688 games in 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, was not offered a contract by the Devils this summer and has been out of work since.

Brodeur and Hitchcock were together with Canada at three Winter Olympics and for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Brodeur, who is 688-394-105-71 with a 2.24 GAA and .912 save percentage, has been working out on his own and awaiting the right opportunity to join another team.

"It's an opportunity for him to practice and be around an NHL team, and it's an opportunity for us to take a look at him," Hitchcock said. "In fairness to Jake, it gives him some stable support behind him if it works out with Marty.

"... [Brodeur's] a real pro. He's the most normal goalie I've ever met in my life. Normal as in ... you can't believe how he acts as if he's a forward or defenseman. That part I know. I know how good he is in the locker room, and I know how good he is and has been for everybody else."

The Blues are looking at an insurance policy in case Elliott is sidelined for a lengthy period of time.

"He's week-to-week and we'll kind of address it every Sunday and see how he is," Hitchcock said of Elliott, who is 8-4-1 with an NHL-leading 1.82 GAA and a .931 save percentage that ranks third. "About as close as I can give you now. We've got [Binnington] in here and we'll just kind of look at it every seven days and see how it is. It could be literally week-to-week.

"[Elliott's] had this type of injury before and it's recovered quickly and nicely. … But we don't want to be saying it's five or six days, and then it's 14 or whatever. So we'll leave it at week-to-week and see where we go."

Elliott, who was re-signed this summer to three-year, $7.5 million contract to be the No. 1 goalie moving forward in tandem with Allen, was frustrated at the thought of leaving the game Tuesday. He threw his stick in disgust as he departed the ice going through the tunnel to the locker room.

"Adrenaline's flowing, but we've got to make sure," Hitchcock said. "If it was a skater, this would be moment-to-moment. But he's a goalie and you need your knees, especially if you're a butterfly goalie.

"We're not taking any risks here. We want him back at 100 [percent]. Jake can cover the load for a little while here."

Allen, who was the AHL Goalie of the Year last season, assumes the role of No. 1 moving forward. He's been in this position before when he was thrust into action two seasons ago after an injury sidelined Jaroslav Halak.

Jake Allen
Goalie - STL
RECORD: 6-2-1
GAA: 2.12 | SVP: .920
"It's another game," Allen said. "It's unfortunate what happened to [Elliott]. He's played so great this year. It's just a tough break, a weird play. It doesn't matter which one of us is really in the net. We're going to give the guys a chance every night. Looking forward to it to play a few more games, but hopefully [Elliott] is back quick.

"I don't feel any different than if [Elliott] was here. To me personally, it's just another game, same group of guys in front of me. I'm looking forward to it. The only bone for me is I get to play a couple more games. That's the positive, and the negative obviously is unfortunate that [Elliott] is out, and he's a big part of our team. Hopefully he gets back soon."

The Blues feel bad for Elliott, who they consider one of their hardest workers.

"A guy who's worked so hard to get to this position and then something like this happens," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "Fortunately it wasn't something too major, but it stinks, and that's another test for him to kind of stay with it, and we know he's going to take care of himself and work to get back as soon as he can. For a goalie, just take your time and be confident in the rehab and all that and I think he'll be back. Fortunately he won't be missing the end of the season. He'll be back for the meat of it, and we're going to need him then."

The Blues have had arguably the best 1-2 tandem in the League so far with Elliott and Allen, who have been ranked at or near the top in all goalie statistical categories. Confidence will not be shaken now that Allen assumes the temporary role of No. 1.

"We do have a lot of faith in [Allen]," forward T.J. Oshie said. "He's been great as well all year. He's got a lot of responsibility on his hand to go night in, night out until [Elliott] gets back. But we're definitely confident in front of him."

Hitchcock has relied on a 1-2 combo for his tenure as coach of the Blues. It's a little different challenge until Elliott returns, with Binnington's lack of NHL experience. Binnington is 6-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .925 save percentage with the Wolves, but had limited minutes playing preseason games in the NHL.

"I look at it as opportunity," Hitchcock said. "Jake's earned the right. I think the challenge is that we fly a little bit solo now. This is something that other organizations, other teams, have gone through. Some have gone through this year, a lot went through last year. We've just got to get focused on one guy being the goalie and see how we do from there. There's that comfort zone with the tandem. The tandem's been excellent, arguably the best tandem in the League. Now Jake's got to grab the ball and run a little bit solo with it."

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