Pressure weighed Elliott down

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:43 PM ET

For what they paid to get him, Brian Elliott gave the Senators much, much more than their money’s worth.

It should never be forgotten that Elliott was the second-last (291st) player selected in the 2003 entry draft and, other than Detroit’s Patrick Eaves, the only Senator choice from that year to even play in the NHL.

In three seasons for Ottawa, he had a 59-45-15 record, a 2.81 GAA and a .903 save percentage. And in trading him Friday, GM Bryan Murray was able to fetch Craig Anderson, a player the Senators have coveted and someone they hope can become their No. 1 goalie until Robin Lehner is ready to take over the reins on a full-time basis.

Yet Elliott, who won just one of his last 15 decisions, is the latest name on the tombstone in Ottawa’s goalie graveyard. Why? Pascal Leclaire’s injury problems are the most obvious answer.

“I think Brian was put in a very difficult position here,” Murray said. “He was regarded, at the beginning, as a backup, the second goaltender behind Pascal Leclaire. Pascal has played 14 games, and Brian has carried the ball pretty much all year. 

“Our team has not been very good, for the most part. We haven’t played with any confidence in some time now, and I think Brian was affected by that.”

Murray believes the 25-year-old Elliott would have played better had he been given the spot starts he was supposed to get. But he also thinks his 2010-11 numbers (13-19-8, 3.19 GAA., .894 save percentage) would have been better had he received some more help in front of him.

“I think everything goes hand in hand in this business,” Murray said.

“I think our defence would have been better if our goaltending was better. I think if we would have scored more goals, our defence would have been better and our goaltending would have been better. It’s all inter-related. (Tim) Thomas in Boston makes spectacular stops at times. Their team is a real good team as a result. We haven’t been getting that. In turn, we haven’t scored the goals they’ve scored. It’s a team. That’s why we play this game, to win games. But it requires a team to be together. We haven’t been together.”

Murray also thinks the burden he carried wore Elliott down. Along with the fact Elliott is scheduled to become a restricted free agent in July, it all added up to the latest trade made by Murray.

“I think (Elliott) took so much pressure that every goal he let in, he looked at it and I think it really bothered him,” Murray said. “He wasn’t the guy who could just let it go. I think it just built up.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos