VANCOUVER — It’d be best if Brian Elliott was unaware that his is the 37th-best save percentage in the NHL.
And also, if he wasn’t reminded that his personal 12-game losing streak is the longest in Senators history.
Elliott doesn’t need such negative thoughts as he tries to rediscover his game.
But how does the target for most of the criticism not take it personally as his team keeps piling up loss after loss? “It’s tough,” said Elliott, wearing a Green Bay Packers cap as he faced a small group of reporters in a Vancouver hotel lobby Sunday.
“Everybody you talk to, mentors and stuff like that, trying to get advice as to handle situations, and every book you read, it’s basically positive thoughts will have positive actions. Just trying to keep upbeat and keep a smile on your face, that’s the biggest key right now. Because if you get down on yourself, and you start telling yourself you’re no good, you’re going to be no good.”
To be fair, Elliott, who has a 12-18-7 record, 3.21 GAA and .895 save percentage, isn’t supposed to be a No. 1 goalie at this stage of his NHL career. The fourth-year pro has been thrust into the role because he happens to be on the same team as the injury-prone Pascal Leclaire.
“It just looks like (Elliott’s) put the burden of the team on his shoulders,” said GM Bryan Murray. “Brian is a quality, quality man and a goaltender that can play in the NHL. Just looks to me like he is so uptight about helping this team do something positive that it’s affecting him. I never saw him give up rebounds like he did (Saturday) on shots that were really harmless.
“The burden, at this time in his career, seems to be a little bit more than he can handle.”
Said Elliott: “You’ve got to learn from it and take advice and know that you’ll come through it. I think it’ll make everyone a better person and a better hockey player.”