Sunday, June 5, 2016

Blues goalie Brian Elliott

ST. LOUIS -- Goalie Brian Elliott finally was given the keys to the car during the Stanley Cup Playoffs as "the guy" to help the Blues make a prolonged run.

And although that run ended in the Western Conference Final, the first time the Blues have advanced to the third round since 2001, Elliott was a huge reason why the Blues were able to move along this season.

Elliott was 9-9 with a 2.44 goals-against average and sterling .921 save percentage -- by far his best save percentage in five postseasons -- with one shutout.
Blues goalie Brian Elliott

Elliott, who was 23-8-6 with a 2.07 GAA and .930 save percentage during the regular season, talks about falling short of winning it all, being close to a veteran-laden group all season and redefining his career after winning a pair of Game 7s to help the Blues advance, among other topics:

What's the feeling in the room? Still trying to digest that it's over?
Yeah, it's a weird feeling. When you put so much of yourself into playing and for the ... I don't even know how long we've been here after the season, a couple months and it's not a good feeling. But you kind of have to sit back and be proud of what we accomplished as a team. I'm definitely proud of the guys for overcoming some big obstacles in the postseason and really testing ourselves and coming out of the ringer on a couple good sides. It's not a good feeling but you definitely have to look at the positives of this year.

Is this the closest roster you've been a part of?
Yeah, I think when you come into the locker room and you can count on everybody to play their role and you don't really have any questions about anybody of what effort they're going to put out on the ice. That's reassuring and I think that's what gets you close. Counting on each other, it's just hanging out with each other and everybody getting along. That goes a long way. We had some great leaders in this locker room that held people accountable and really you can call guys out. Sometimes it hurts to hear, and sometimes it hurts to be the one to call somebody out. Guys did that and I think that goes a long way in a hockey locker room.

How did it feel to be the playoff goalie and do you feel like you made most of it?
I've had opportunities before, but this one obviously went the longest. It was fun to be the guy to be counted on knowing that whatever happens this game, I'm going to go back out there and battle with the guys again. Obviously you don't want to see teammates get injured and I went through injuries as well this year, but getting the opportunity to play a lot of games in a row and then take that into the playoffs and kind of roll with it was fun. It was challenging, rewarding, grueling and just an emotional roller coaster, but it was something that I wouldn't give up in a heartbeat.

Did you feel like you needed a break for Game 4, like Hitch suggested?
No. That's kind of what he tells you guys. You just want to get back in there and have a chance to redeem yourself. Goalie's a tough situation, especially this whole playoff has kind of proved that there's question marks. Everybody gets the opportunity to get back in the lineup and push through that game or a couple bad shifts. As a goalie, you want to do the same.

Does this playoff redefine your career? Do people look at you differently now after this run?
I don't really worry about what people are thinking about me or looking at me like. I think it's how you feel and the confidence that you feel going into some of those games. Winning those Game 7s against pretty formidable opponents, it's an experience that you put in your back pocket and you can kind of be proud of. When it comes down to it, you can kind of draw back on it and when other situations come up throughout regular seasons, playoffs, but you can look back and say, 'This is Game 7, Chicago; Game 7, Dallas, let's go do this.' 

You think moving forward, it's you and Jake Allen like it has been?
For next year? I don't know. I'm sure there's going to be changes in the locker room; there always are. We'll see what happens how everything shakes out.

Will it be weird not seeing Backes here in a Blues uniform moving forward?
He's a guy that's been here his whole career. We would have said that about 'Jax,' and then you say that about 'Osh.' And you see them in another jersey. It's kind of how the league works obviously. The town loves him and the guys love him. It's not up to our decisions. I'm sure there's a lot of decisions to be made.

If they go in Allen's direction, do you want to be in a situation where you might not play as much?
You want to play. That's what it all comes down to. That's the predicament of pretty much every NHL team. 

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