Pascal Leclaire or Brian Elliott? Ottawa Senators' Tough Goaltending Decision

Christopher SmithContributor IOctober 5, 2010

Pascal Leclaire waits to learn who the starting goaltender will be for Friday night's opening game.
Pascal Leclaire waits to learn who the starting goaltender will be for Friday night's opening game.Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

During the preseason, there was hope that either Pascal Leclaire or Brian Elliott would step up their game and grab the starting goaltending job for the Ottawa Senators.

That never happened.

Instead, Leclaire was 1-2-0 with a 4.43 goals-against average and a .856 save percentage in the preseason and Elliott was only slightly better at 1-1-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average and a .882 save percentage.

Hardly the kind of numbers to excite Coach Cory Clouston.

“To be honest, we wanted both of them to play better,” Clouston said, “and we wanted one of them to step it up. We didn’t get that, but we’re still confident we can have at least one guy ready to go to start the season.”

With Leclaire set for free agency after this season, he must realize the implications this season holds for the rest of his career. The pressure is on for him to establish himself as a starting goalie, or he risks an uncertain future with NHL teams not wanting to sign him next summer.

If Leclaire is feeling this pressure, he's not showing it. Instead, he says he feels comfortable with how his game is progressing.

“It’s totally out of my control,” said Leclaire. “I feel good and I’m ready to go if they want me to play. If not, I’ll just wait for it, and when I get a chance to play, I’ll be ready.”

With only a few days left until Ottawa's Friday night opening game against the Buffalo Sabres, Clouston clearly showed some frustration yesterday when asked if he has made his goalie decision.

“I'm not going to tell you when our decision is made,” Clouston said. “You will know on Friday morning who we start.”

Until Friday morning then, the Ottawa Senators' fans wait anxiously.


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Christopher Smith runs, an Ottawa Senators fan site.