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Hitchcock won’t determine Blues’ starter until playoffs begin

Mar 26, 2012, 7:53 PM EDT

St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

Despite Brian Elliott‘s unlikely All-Star bid, paycheck politics and a hot run under Ken Hitchcock implied that the St. Louis Blues’ starting job would go to Jaroslav Halak. Yet after back-to-back shutouts, Elliott pushed that positive goalie “controversy” to the forefront again, but Hitchcock told Jeremy Rutherford that he’s in no rush to name a No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s a good problem to have, but it’s one that I’m putting off until the last possible moment,” Hitchcock said. “To me, I’m going to wait until the playoffs start before I make that determination. I just feel like I owe it to both guys to continue to play both guys.”

“I expected a month ago that this thing would kind of air itself out and we’d figure out something. But it has not. I wouldn’t say it’s more complicated, it’s a good complication. But they’re making it hard on me because both guys are playing so good.”

Let there be no doubt about that.

Elliott is atop the NHL in GAA with 1.52 and is also leading everyone in stats nerds-approved save percentage with a stunning .941 mark. Halak’s overall numbers aren’t as out-of-this-world, but he’s easily been in stride with Elliott since Hitch came along after struggling before the coaching change.


Deep down, it seems like most NHL teams generally prefer to start their big money guys. It makes the GM feel all warm and fuzzy (and smart) while that guy tends to come in with bigger credentials – whether it be a higher draft pedigree, a more impressive resume or both.

Still, Elliott’s done just about anything a person can do to earn a starting job this season, so which guy would you go with if you were Hitchcock? Is he making the right move by waiting to name a No.1 netminder? Do tell.

  1. bcjim - Mar 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    The games wont matter at that point since all fans except Blues fans will be asleep due to trap hypnosis.

    • paperlions - Mar 26, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      Don’t watch any blues games, do you?

      • bcjim - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        I see the scoreboard.

        Blues GF 196 GA 149
        for comparison

        Detroit GF 237 GA 187
        Pitt GF 253 GA 195

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        I bet if your team was making a legit run at the President’s Trophy you wouldn’t be complaining about how they’re doing it. Homers complain about other teams’ style of play, real hockey fans don’t.

      • paperlions - Mar 27, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        …so you just don’t realize then that there are ways to play good defense that don’t involve any kind of trap, but focus on fore checking, back checking and taking away the middle of the ice (space in front of the goal, not the neutral zone)?

  2. tarotsujimoto74 - Mar 26, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Elliott has played in one playoff series and had no success. Halak was the key to the Habs amazing run a couple years back. You roll with Halak, easy choice. Or just do what they’ve done all year and go back and forth, not sure what the issue is with that.

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    We all know what Halak can do in the playoffs. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get the Game 1 start.

  4. stevedurbano - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    He’ll go with the hot hand like he’s done all season. Unless there are back to back games he tends to stay with the same goalie.

  5. bensawesomeness - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Is there a problem with alternating guys? I dont follow the blues, but i have to imagine it’s alot harder to prepare for 2 goalies than 1

  6. 22bju - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Someone please explain the problem with rotating your goalies in the playoffs? Why get away with what has gotten you there?

    And people that don’t watch blues games – why even make a comment?

    People bored by the style – Get used to it, that style wins games and will especially do so when teams take less chances and check tighter in the playoffs.

  7. norseman81 - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Start Elliot! He is playing out of his mind right now

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