Elliott Understands Role...Lehner/Bishop Situation in Ottawa
Blues goaltender Brian Elliott approaches every game like it’s his last. He has the mentality of a baseball closer and his 13-save performance in Nashville Monday night should come as no surprise.
Some may disagree but I look at Elliott as a high quality number two goaltender. I mean this as a compliment by the way.
He’s shown the ability to carry the ball for stretches but he’s comfortable in his role and is as stable as any goaltender in the game right now.
Scouts tell me bad performances used to wear Elliott out. The top goaltenders understand the ups and downs of the position. Learning sometimes you don’t always win can be easier said than done. It’s not about trying harder, it’s about bringing the same consistent approach to the rink every day. This approach might be the difference between the Elliott we see today versus the one in we saw in Ottawa and Colorado.
I was a little surprised Head Coach Ken Hitchcock lifted Jaroslav Halak as quickly as he did but it was clear this wasn’t his night. Colin Wilson rifled a puck short side to give the Predators a 1-0. It was a good shot but Halak usually finds a way to keep those out of the net. D-man Alex Pietrangelo stepped up on Wilson but whiffed.
It’s not often we see Pietrangelo take himself out of position like this.
Putting last night’s game behind him won’t be an issue for Halak. This is a strength of Halak’s and a trait most top NHL goaltenders share.
We’ve already seen Henrik Lundqvist, Cory Schneider, Jimmy Howard, and Cam Ward get the hook this season.
Nashville’s third goal scored by Patric Hornqvist was a little on the soft side, Hitchcock had seen enough.
Once again the night belonged to the Sibryak, Vlad Tarasenko. He froze veteran Scott Hannan which led to the Blues tying the score. Hannan gave Tarasenko the middle of the ice by backing up before dropping to one knee and screening Pekka Rinne.
Rinne will probably tell you he should have made the save.
Rinne made some good saves but this wasn’t one of his better performances.
One thing we talked about with Tarasenko prior to him signing with the Blues was his playmaking ability. He’s still learning defensive concept but he makes things happen from the blue line in. The pass he made to Andy McDonald showed his ability to be a step ahead of the opposition.
Actually the short little backhand from Kevin Shattenkirk out of the corner was just as impressive.
Tarasenko’s ability to read the game without the puck is what makes him so dangerous. He’s as good as any player on the Blues roster without the puck. He knows how to put himself in scoring position and his natural ability takes care of the rest.
You can tell he grew up the son of a former player, now coach.
I’m not one to complain too much about the officials but fans and players better adjust to the way the game is being called. Many hockey people believe it will stay this way throughout the entire season.
Is the NHL taking a page out of the NFL’s book?
I did think Richard Clune’s hit from behind on Scott Nichol deserved more than a minor penalty. Clune, who was waived by LA, has a reputation down in the AHL.
Sources say Jamie Benn made a contract proposal to Dallas within the last few days but it appears there’s some work to be done before the two sides agree to a deal.
Carlo Colaiacovo has reinjured the same shoulder he hurt in the final game of the Spengler Cup during the lockout.
Chris Campoli reached out to LA but it appears the back injury to Matt Greene isn’t as severe as being reported.
The Ottawa Senators sent down goaltender Robin Lehner today. This move was expected as fellow netminder Ben Bishop needs waivers to go down.
The Senators have a move to make between now and the trade deadline. Starting goalie Craig Anderson has two years left on his contract after this season and is playing as well as anyone in the league right now.
Lehner was the best AHL goaltender during the lockout and appears to have taken some major steps on and off the ice. Ottawa GM Bryan Murray will likely wait until a team is desperate before dangling one of his goalies out there.
Bishop needs to play at least seven games this season (at least 30:00 per game) for the Senators to keep his rights after the year. Otherwise he’ll be a Group VI once again and become an unrestricted free agent after the year.
Kris Russell and Alex Pietrangelo each had six shots on goal Monday in Nashville. Russell was the only D-man to not play any special teams. He still finished the game with just under 18:00 of ice.
The Blues as a team are a combined plus-14 after two games.
Andy McDonald won 72% of his face-offs Tuesday. He’s been taking the majority of draws from the right dot.
McDonald took some stitches to the chin after taking a puck to the face late in the game.
Captain David Backes and company have been a little quiet early on but it’s only a matter of time before his line breaks out. The Blues have different players who can lead every game.
David Perron has four offensive zone penalties in the first two games. He’s usually the one drawing penalties, not committing them. You can assume this was brought to his attention.
Blues prospect Demitrij Jaskin has been named the QMJHL player of the week. Jaskin is a Czech native and a former 2nd round pick.
It’s about time super-scout Ville Siren gets some love around here! Tarasenko, Berglund, Eller, Polak, Jaskin…..
How about the celly from Tarasenko on Pietrangelo’s goal?
Alex Steen is one of the only players I’ve seen to pivot backwards in an effort to get up to full speed.
Former NHL D-man Jamie Rivers is my guest this Wednesday on Blues Buzz live from Johnny Mac’s. The show starts at 6:00 on 590 the Fan in St. Louis.
Matt D’Agostini expectedto play tonight in Chicago.
More to come,