Brian Elliott

- January 17th, 2011

During Brian Elliott’s personal, eight-game losing streak, the Senators have scored 10 goals.
In Robin Lehner’s one outing, they scored six.
They played for the kid, for whatever reason. Maybe they’re protecting him. Maybe they know they have to be better offensively. He’s just 19. He needs support.
But does it really matter why? No, it doesn’t.
All that should matter to the Senators at this point is that they get the victory. Nothing else. And for whatever reason, they are not winning with Brian Elliott.
I know all you people out there say that wins don’t even matter now, that it’s too late, they have no chance. You’re probably right. But the fact is, they are not dead yet, and in sports, you keep playing until they tell you to go home.
I don’t think they have a prayer either, but really, the Senators are 11 points out of a playoff spot with about 35 games left. Believe it or not, stranger things have happened in sports.
I know, I know, this does not look like a team that can string together wins. I can’t imagine they will. But it is possible. Improbable, but possible.
The thing I don’t understand is this: While the owner can start looking at next season, the future is now for Cory Clouston. He is playing for his NHL career. Once he gets fired, it’s hard to imagine he’ll get another chance coaching in the NHL. His record in Ottawa is not exactly sparkling.
So, if you’re Clouston, why would you not give yourself the best chance to win now?
Lehner didn’t look great in the 6-4 victory over the Islanders, except for the fact he was the only Ottawa goalie who has been able to smile after a game since Boxing Day.
If I’m Clouston, I don’t care how it gets done, as long as somebody does it. And Elliott isn’t doing it.
I’m sure there are those of you who think it’s not Clouston’s call.
But when management thought of bringing up Lehner, Clouston was told it would only happen if he played the kid. He said he would. I’m sure if he told management he wanted Lehner back, it would happen.
Instead, he says he’s thinking about Lehner’s future and making sure he develops properly. What hogwash. For one thing, who the hell knows if Lehner will develop better in the minors or here. I realize what history has shown us with other goalies, but this guy is different.
And in the position he is in, Clouston should not be as worried about Lehner’s future as he should be about his own. The kid is going to have one in the NHL. At this rate, Clouston won’t.
As for the Senators, well, there will be lots of time to bury them once they’re dead. Right now, they are not. It just looks that way.

Categories: Hockey

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31 comments

  1. IMO says:

    I don’t know how much Lehner had to do with the Isls win, i think their goalies were just that bad. I’m not sure about the team playing better for Lehner, I recall during one of the few games LeClaire wasn’t hurt the media made a big fuss that the team was ony scoring for Elliot. Sadly, I think you might be right about Clouston not getting another chance in the Show. I think if he does he will have to spend more time in AHL & maybe time as an Asst Coach in the NHL. An Asst job might help him learn how to deal with vets better which seems to be his down fall.

  2. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Sounds like a classic Straw Man/Red Herring to me!

    There is no causation link between Lehner being in net and the Islanders victory.
    There is likewise no causation link between Elliott being net and the team’s poor performance.

    A deeper analysis of the Islanders victory would lead one to see the New York team was short six regulars and starting two novice goalenders. Said goaltenders were victimized by early goals, as was their relatively untested and injury-plagued team.

    Taking it to last night’s game, Chris Phillips bonehead pass through the middle = poor decision making from a vet.
    Our defense is, to put it politely, composed of neurally-disadvantaged marshmallows.

    Erik Karlsson thinks defense is for the poor people.
    Chris Phillips is old and slow.
    Gonchar is old, slow and thinks “D” is the fourth letter of the alphabet and not a “lifestyle” his position should adopt.
    Lee is average and that’s great for us.
    Campoli is decent.
    Kuba is terrible.

    But hey, it’s gotta be Elliott’s fault.

    Chris Osgood with the Islanders had a 3.00 + GAA.
    Chris Osgood with the Red Wings is a Hall of Famer (heh).

    Stop blaming the goalies. Start blaming Alfredsson (he gets a point every four to five games), Kovalev (can’t tell the difference between playing and sitting), the defense (there is none), the GM (he scrambled too many eggs when the team was sunny-side up) and the coach (too many line combinations, poor play systems, etc.

    It’s a shame that this now rotten core is going to cost another good man his job. I sincerely hope when the 2011 season begins next October that there will be many, many new players here and less of the “Kanata Boys Club” around.

    Then we can talk about goaltending.

  3. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Oh.

    If this team gets a “Maple Leafs Playoff Run” and finishes in 9th or 10th I will lose it, absolutely lose it.
    This team needs to keep sucking so we get a top five pick for a forward and another high forward pick in round two.

    The season is over, time to play the string and draft high while the chance is there.

  4. Mike8888 says:

    Pierre,
    In some ways I agree with you, but I don’t think there are many season ticket holders who will. I’d like to see them get a good draft pick as well, but history has proven that if you’re not drafting in the first few positions, there are no guarantees you’re going to get a player. As Sen’s fans know, drafting first doesn’t even guarantee anything unless there’s a Crosby, Stamkos, Ovechkin, or Hall type player available.

    I believe the first thing they need is a goalie. With a decent goalie they can then let Lehner develope with out rushing him along. They then need to get a few scoring forwards, maybe some through the draft and the rest via trades and free agent signings.

  5. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    MIke.

    You can’t be reactive.
    What good would it do now to blow up the team, make big trades and so on?
    Just stay the course. There are anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 season ticket holders, depending on how you listen to. Those are the REAL die-hards. They’ll keep coming no matter what happens. At this point, you need to look to the future because the season is over.

    They need:

    A decent goalie.
    3-4 young forwards.
    3-4 good defensemen.

    Heh.
    They may have the “D” part covered but the goalie and forwards? Who knows.
    Senators might have to do what the Leafs did and just draft and sign a million goalies. They went with Giguère, Reimer, Gustavsson, etc. Right now Reimer looks good for them.

    Team is a mess, glad I don’t have to clean the mess. I can just play GM from my seat! :)

  6. Mike8888 says:

    What’s happening with this team reminds me of the Hartsburg days, when everyone on the Sen’s was having a bad season. When 3 or 4 players have an off season, that’s one thing, but when almost every player is having a bad season, you have to look at the coach. Even Spezza is having one of his worst seasons, although he is becoming more of a complete player. It’s time for a coaching change.

  7. tuna99 says:

    No, they are done…stranger things have happened yes, but the game doesn’t lie especially after you’ve played 45 games, Ottawa is a bad team – they’re lineup is poor, to me and most fans we know it is not the coach but it is a personel problem, one Murray should fix and the answer isn’t a 19 year old goalie, it’s toughness on D and speed and creativity up front…not Lehner or Zenon Konopka, sorry Don

  8. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Here’s what I’d do.

    If I’m Murray I get everyone to a restaurant for some beers and fajitas and say:

    “Guys, I know you’re all hopeful and you think you can make the playoffs but we’re going to sell assets. Those of you that are vets, you can tell me where you’d like to go and I’ll try and fix it. Younger guys, we’re going to try and keep you for the future. We’re going younger in 2011.”

    After that, see if you can move people for picks or prospects or maybes…a team like Carolina or Islanders, maybe they move a Matt Moulson or maybe Vancouver can move a goalie prospect or a young player for a playoff push.

    At the 2011 draft, GET FORWARDS. It looks like we might get a top 5 pick…so Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins might be in play. Go for them. In round two, GET A FORWARD. They just said on the radio Giggy might waive his no-trade. Trade Toronto a forward prospect (I know…) for him. He steadies the room and maybe they get a few points.
    Or just keep sucking.

    No one outside Alfredsson should be safe, really. No one is going to take Spezza because of his salary and term. Michalek should be kept…Kovalev has to go. Gonchar has to go as well, but who will take him?

    Yeah, it’s gonna suck for Don and Bruce to not have playoff hockey to cover. Don can go to the Bruins and cover that for the Sun, Bruce can go to Montreal. Remember, we didn’t have a team here before but hockey news still happened.

    Sorry Alfie, no Cup for you unless you ask for a trade.

  9. Tom Tillyt says:

    Don Brennan is pinning the hopes of the season on an average AHL goalie who let in 4 goals on 20 shots in his NHL debut and happened to get lucky enough to play against a horrible team with even worse goaltending and get a W.

    I’m sure if Lehner was in net against Washington it would have been at least 3-1, probably worse. Sorry Don, the Sens need a lot more than an unproven AHL goalie to right this ship.

    I’m sure Bryan Murray has some deep and truthful insight on the situation :-)

  10. Dennis_w says:

    Tom,

    The problems in Ottawa are many and obvious to most, even if not for Don. But don’t you leaf fans have bigger fish to fry?

  11. Tom Tillyt says:

    Dennis,

    I got bored of trying to solve TO’s problems…they will never listen to me. That being said, let me revel in this just a little. Being a Leafs fan, I had to (deservedly) hear many overly confident Sens fans brag about imminent cup glory while Leaf bashing. This stunning fall from grace, spearheaded by who I believe to be one of the most inept GM’s in the league, is most amusing.

    Having said that, I don’t wish prolonged misery on the Sens. I do enjoy having a local team and hope to one day see some real battles of Ontario. Just a couple years of them being awful should satisfy my craving…

  12. Kevin F. says:

    Things are just starting to heat up Dennis, send us Spezza and we ll be “cookin with gas”!’

  13. Visitor - Pierre says:

    Bah. You Leafs fans haven’t been in the playoffs in 7 years.

  14. kinburnsen says:

    Wow I agree with Bruce…I’m freaking shocked. Why not give Lehner a few games, it will give him some experience nothing more but it’s something. I have no idea why the media in this town dumps on Clouston, it’s his first kick at the NHL and he was handed horseshit by Murray. Want to know why there are empty seats Eugene? Maybe the fact that you continue to employ the dumb ass who broke this team by signing useless players to long expensive contracts (Gonchar, Kuba, Kovalev, and yes folks Spezza (on pace for 40 pts!). Bruce I disagree Clouston’s done in the NHL, it may be awhile but he’ll be back.

  15. Mike8888 says:

    Does Toronto still have a team?

  16. Kevin F. says:

    And over 40 years without a cup and almost a decade since eliminating the Senators,

  17. Mike8888 says:

    That was fast. Glad to see your awake Kevin. I was looking at the stats today, I noticed Gonchar and Kessel and tied at -16. I wonder who’ll win that dubious race?

  18. Kevin F. says:

    Karlsson or Phillips

  19. Mike8888 says:

    Probably Phillips. He’s -20.

  20. Nancy D says:

    Er…..and what about what happened at the beginning of the season when Elliott stood on his head and looked like an all-star while our skaters couldn’t score a goal to save their lives?

    Bring in a good goalie and all you’ll get are 1-0 or 2-1 losses instead of 4-0 or 4-1 losses. And you’ll just ruin another goalie.

    As for Clouston, I believe IMO has it right. Clouston was promoted to the NHL a lil bit too early. He needs a bit more seasoning, either in the AHL or as an assistant in the NHL for a few years. He does have some ability and talent, he just needs to work on it in a less demanding role.

    And please, please, please, leave Lehner in the AHL for the rest of the year…and next year too. The kid has shown in the world juniors and in the A this year that he isn’t ready. We have a kid with the potential to be an elite first stringer…..why do anything to ruin it?

  21. kinburnsen says:

    Whoops I mean Brennan. Anyways no way should Lehner be thrown in as #1 with that disaster of a team in front of him, but a few games before being sent back might be a good idea. Oh damn I can’t help myself FIRE MURRAY for the love of all things holy!

  22. Pete Ducharme says:

    Your goalie is only as good as your defence & we all know how good they are ! Murray & his nephew have to go & then Clouston along with Carvel & Lauer. Get a top 3 draft pick & then we’ll start seeing some significant changes. I just hope Melnyk feels the same way too …

  23. PaV says:

    Hey Mike, Bobby and Kevin have a bet with me that Kessell will reach 30 goals…… looks like I am going to be 2 pints up

  24. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    To give pause to those that the Senators will go on a magical run into a playoff spot.

    The 8th seed is presently the Atlanta Thrashers, they have 53 points a goal differential of MINUS SEVEN.
    Our beloved meatloafs have 40 points and a goal differential of MINUS FORTY.

    So, to get into the playoffs the Senators would have to win 8 consecutive games BY SHUTOUT with Brian Elliott in net and with a defense that looks like a bunch of decrepit glam-rockers on a Captain Morgan bender.

    Hmm.
    Yeah, didn’t think so either.
    Time to choose an alternate playoff team, mine will be Philadelphia.

  25. Mike8888 says:

    Pav,
    I’m not so sure. Kessel has 19 goals in 44 games, so I hate to say it but he may hit the 30 goal mark.

  26. Kevin F. says:

    Pav your unfailing optimism is an inspiration, not logical, but admirable just the same. As a Leaf fan I have some experience in that area. As Mike points out Kessel has 19 in 44 which translates to 35 or so over 82. Barring injury he will reach 30 easily. If you would like to take advantage of me and double up feel free. Now if a certain playmaking centre,whose teams fan base holds in contempt for his large contract and glaring giveaways was to make his way to the Leafs before the deadline 40+ would not be out of the question.

  27. BGoody says:

    Philips will win the race in the +/- but The King will push him for the title. But there will be no doubt that The King will win the give away championship belt on this team and perhaps the league! As Pierre so elequently put it: The King thinks that defence is for the paupers, not royalty. He is as bad as Kovalev with no effort what so ever in this part of the game. Kessel would score 50 goals if he had Spezza in the middle (even if he had Daisey on the other side). Ottawa made the playoffs last year and they were one of the very few who did so allowing more goals than they scored. So for those who think that this bad year is an anomolly, need to expamine the trend more closely. I read about Lehner being the future but I have yet to see it but do think he could be good. Those of you who think he needs to spend a year or two in the manures are absolutely right! I am not against him coming up for 5 games, but the danger there is he does well and then the powers that be, decide to keep him here. I don’t think Clouston is any good at all Nancy and see nothing about his coaching that warrants confidence. What facit of his coaching here was inspirational/inteligent? He is the king of the double standard, double talk, line combinations, favouritism, confusion and bad decision making. He is not a players coach and indeed, pisses them off. Those who have so much confidence in Hockey Canada need to have a second look. Nugent-Hopkins, the brilliantly talented kid from the WJHL is now rated #2 behind Larson but he couldn’t make Canada’s Junior team in the World Championships. I have always wondered why Canada cannot select the best players available to them. It is moronic to have a game plan and blueprint before the kids even try out for the team; that comes after (unless of course the decision are made in advance). The team and more specifically, the talent level of the team should be the team’s identity and the game plan for their play is based on that reality. Why, because talented players can play defence but talentless players will never score goals. Seguin couldn’t make team Canada last year but he goes number 2 overall…go figure. It is how Jacques Martin coaches. A great coach will have his team play in the manner that best suits their talent level. Martin only knows defence and I suspect our new coach will do what did with in the World Junior Championships (all the tired and old but obviously tried and true things like: structure and systems). Dumbass, really… but these days…fashionable. It is exciting that our Sens may be selecting one of the top 4 in the upcoming draft. Don’t do anything stupid now and trade it away and I would have Alfredson available for a trade as well as: Kuba, Gonchar, Philips, Ruutu, Kovalev, Daisey the Air Rifle (for a bag of oranges), Leclaire, Elliott. Trade for draft choices or youth, speed, size…did I say speed?

  28. PaV says:

    Kev.. double up it is! there is no way he reaches 30 ;-)

  29. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby,
    Regarding the World Juniors. I find it ridiculous that NHL teams won’t let most of the junior eligible players playing with them, available for the championships. To me, any NHL team that can’t do with out a 19 year old kid for a few games must be pretty pathetic. The CHL teams obviously do with out their best players during the tournament.

  30. BGoody says:

    I am with you Mikey. Was it going to hurt Carolina to have Skinner play or Boston to let Sequin play? I can name a bunch of them. I am convinced that their absence wouldn’t really hurt their respective teams and nothing but positives would result: the kids have a chance to put a world championship on their resumes; their teams could use that for publicity; the experience would be wonderful for the kids; and it would help the entire program! Like I said Mikey, I agree with you but there must be some politics or business issues that we are not privy to.

  31. Nancy D says:

    There is one problem with letting NHL level kids play in the WJC. These kids play at an NHL pace and with NHL coaching…often times they are out of step with their junior level teammates. Just look at Canada’s all-star entry in ’92 with Lindros, Niedermayer and a few other NHL guys…they finished 6th. Plus, there’s the added risk of junior levelled guys taking a run at the NHLers to get some exposure.

    I love Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Heck, his name alone is totally badass. His only problem is size. He’s a little guy with a wiry thin frame….a lot like Kyle Turris. I don’t know how he’ll project in the NHL. Size isn’t as much as an issues for forwards that way it was in the 1990s, but still……

    But yeah, Hockey Canada has become waaaay too political for my liking. The QMJHL is the weak sister among the CHL, but they pretty much get a few spots handed to them most years so HC can say they represent all of Canada. And a lot of guys get in simply for having the right agent or team backing them up. For whatever reason, it looks like 67s players have been blackballed from the tourney (maybe ever since Hunt made waves bidding for the Memorial Cup “too often” for David Branch’s liking?). How Tyler Toffoli didn’t even get an invite to the tryouts was criminal.

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