Brian Elliott Helping To Put Ottawa Senators' Goalie Controversy To Rest

Christopher SmithContributor INovember 5, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 04:  Brian Elliott #30 of the Ottawa Senators watches the play along the boards while teammate Sergei Gonchar #55 keeps a close check on John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders during a game on November 4, 2010 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The Ottawa Senators defeated the New York Islanders 4-1. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Ottawa's goalie controversy seems to be solved. For now.

Brian Elliott has played ten games and has a respectable six wins. In his last two wins against the Leafs and Islanders, he has stolen the game at times and has posted a 1.50 GAA and a .953 save percentage. Both times he was named one of the stars of the game.

Even with Pascal Leclaire back from his groin injury, no one on the team seems to be in any hurry to remove him from between the posts.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it," said coach Cory Clouston. "Brian has played well. He has given our guys an opportunity to get our feet back underneath us when we have struggled at times. He has been there for us. And, he’s been a real big part of how we’ve started to turn things around."

With Leclaire warming the bench for the last two games, Elliott seems even more confident and comfortable, challenging the shooters and taking smart risks that have paid off.

“Every time you get in there, you just want to be a little more confident," said Elliott.  "That goes for everybody on the team.  When that happens, guys see it and feel it in themselves and kind of get on a roll. That’s what we’re trying to do."

The funny thing is though, that even before Leclaire's injury there seemed to be no hint of a goalie controversy.

Sure, in the preseason fans and the media were looking at the Senators offence and defence and saying that it wasn't perfect yet could do the job, but it was the goaltending that had everyone questioning the team.

Elliott was remembered as the goalie who faltered in the playoffs and had to step aside, and Leclaire's reputation for constant injury had every one wondering how long he could last.

Yet when the season started, it was the lack of shots on net and poor defensive play that led to Ottawa's losses, not Leclaire in net. For the first three games of the season, Leclaire could be said to be the best Senators player on the ice.

So if Leclaire held the team together to start the season, and Elliott has been giving the team confidence since stepping in, then maybe perhaps we need to realize that Ottawa may not have a goalie controversy at all.

Perhaps we have two solid goaltenders and our habit of killing our goaltenders too soon and too often has made us blind to the fact that we don't need a superstar starter when we have two respectable goalies capable of holding the team together and stepping in when we need them.

The season is still young so there is plenty of time for me to be proved wrong, but until then I will stand by my opening sentence.

Ottawa's goalie controversy seems to be solved. For now.


Christopher Smith runs, an Ottawa Senators wiki site.