Found January 25, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
Ottawa_senators_v_e752
ST. LOUIS - Traveling back to Ottawa was likely the last thing goalie Brian Elliott thought he would be doing during the All-Star break when he signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Blues last summer. Heck, Elliott wasn't even sure he was going to make the Blues roster when training camp opened in September. Now he's headed to the All-Star Game as their only representative. Elliott went from unwanted to irreplaceable in less than a year, earning his first All-Star appearance by posting a 15-5-2 record and a microscopic 1.69 goals against average in the first half of the season. "He's played his butt off," said forward David Backes. "He was our backbone for a while when (starter Jaroslav Halak) was stumbling and without him at that point of the season who knows what direction we go. He's more than deserving and hopefully he has a great time." Elliott made 37 saves Tuesday night in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scottrade Center in his final game before heading to Ottawa. After having to win a roster spot in training camp just to be Halak's backup, Elliott took advantage of some unexpected playing time and ran with it. He leads the league in both GAA (1.69) and save percentage (.938) and is second with five shutouts. And his All-Star season took another turn last week when his strong play was recently with a two-year, 3.6 million contract extension to stay with the Blues "It's pretty exciting, especially coming off last year where you didn't really know what was going to happen," Elliott said. "It's nice in the middle of the season to get something done and know you are sticking round and you're with a team that you like and a group of guys you love being around. "We have a good thing going here and I wanted to be a part of it and stay with it." The trip to Ottawa for Sunday's All-Star Game will be a gratifying return for Elliott, who played parts of four seasons with the Senators from 2007-2011 after they drafted him in the ninth round of the 2003 NHL draft. Elliott went 13-19-8 with a 3.19 goals against average in 43 games with the Senators last season before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche midway through the season. "It will be fun," Elliott said. " It's going to be cold, I know that for sure. I'm not looking forward to the weather but everything else, going back and seeing some friends and my family is pretty close to there so they will all be there, and even just the training staff, the equipment guys, my old teammates - it will be a good time. "Plus whatever team I'm on, I'm sure its going to be a great group of guys and I'll look around the dressing room and just soak it in and try to make some friends and get some autographs and smile a lot I'm sure." The trade to Colorado didn't help Elliott's struggles it made them worse. He went 2-8-1 in 12 games with Colorado to finish the season and had a dismal 3.83 GAA. So Elliott hit free agency with not much to brag about, eventually agreeing to the best offer on the table a two-way contract with the Blues that would pay him 600,000 if he could beat out rookie Ben Bishop for the backup goalie spot. Elliott did much more than become the backup. He's one of the key reasons the Blues hit the break just two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the top spot in the NHL. "He's been a big story for most of the year," said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "I know Halak has come on strong and played significant hockey for the Blues, but the story of Elliott earlier on and the wins he has been able to provide and how he has been able to do it is outstanding. His numbers are fantastic." The Blues hope Elliott's storybook season has plenty of positive chapters left.
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