Silver Nuggets: Brian Elliott's resurrection

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23: Goaltender Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues walks out of the locker room before the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on December 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brian Elliott spoke with the media > yesterday, talking a bit about opportunities he was given--with the Ottawa Senators to start his career, and with the St. Louis Blues to get it back on track--and about the way the Canadian media treats goalies (which, in his experience, probably wasn't very friendly).

"Obviously, the Canadian media is pretty harsh on goalies and in Ottawa it's been kind of a focal point for them in years past. They like to throw people under the bus. I try not to think about it too much. I never really read into any of it. The guys know how you are in the locker room and that's all that really matters."

That's a pretty interesting quote, and Elliott's certainly not pulling any punches there. Considering his numbers last season, though, some criticism was certainly warranted: He finished the year with a 15-27-9 record, a GAA of 3.34, and a save percentage of 89.3%. He played for some terrible teams (the Senators and Colorado Avalanche finished 26 and 29 in the league), which certainly didn't help, but I doubt even Elliott would deny it was a bad year last year.

Which just makes his resurgence this year all the more impressive. He's first in league in both save percentage (93.8 per cent) and goals-against average (1.69), and second in shutouts (five) despite playing just 23 games so far. He benefits from Ken Hitchcock's defence-first system, but even before Hitchcock came on board, Elliott's play was incredible considering his numbers last year.

Could anyone have predicted this resurgence? If they did, they weren't talking very loudly.

Senators headlines

  • Daniel Alfredsson will be on the NHL Hour with Gary Bettman before making his selections in the Fantasy Draft this evening. I think you can hear the show here.
  • Alfredsson's especially excited to be sharing the hometown All-Star Game experience with his family. (Postmedia)
  • Part two of an interview with Erik Karlsson, on a whole bunch of things. (The Hockey News)
  • Odds are in favour of Karlsson being the first overall selection. (Pro Hockey Talk)
  • But... for some reason, USA Today's mock draft had Evgeni Malkin go first. (USA Today)
  • Taking a look at the Northeast Division at the break, SCoC writer Phunwin suggests the Sens are a potential second-half-regression candidate. (Stanley Cup of Chowder)
  • Todd White and Jason York did a fantasy Fantasy Draft to select the All-Star Teams. (Canoe)
  • As if there weren't enough All-Stars in the Senators' system, Mark Borowiecki has been named to the AHL All-Star Team. He joins Corey Locke and head coach Kurt Kleinendorst on the squad. (Press & Sun Bulletin)
  • Ottawa's for some pretty strong prospects expected to come on board next season, too, with Jakub Silfverberg, Mark Stone, and Mika Zibanejad all appearing poised to make the jump to North American pro hockey. (Citizen)
  • The Rideau Canal is open in its entirety today, just in time to host several events for the All-Star Game. (NCC)
League headlines
  • Antero Nittymakki was waived by the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, and folks are wondering if he might be a good pick-up to bolster the goaltending position for the Sens. Based on this article, he'll definitely be playing with an edge. (Puck Daddy)
  • A look at some classic old-school All-Stat games. (Black Aces)
Finally, a video on the grand opening of the Rink of Dreams (featuring a Milan Michalek interview!):

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