Inside College Hockey Chat: UW's Brian Elliott
This week, Wisconsin goaltender Brian Elliott joins The Show. The Badgers, behind Elliott's fast start (11-1-2, 1.41 GAA, .942 sv. pct.) have earned the No. 1 ranking after wins at Michigan State and Michigan in the College Hockey Showcase last weekend. This weekend Elliott and the Badgers travel to Minnesota to renew that rivalry in a key WCHA series.
Send your questions now and join INCH every Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (1:30 PM)
Hello and welcome to the college hockey portion of The Show. This week we're joined by Brian Elliott, the starting goaltender for the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Please send your questions along.
Brian Elliott (1:30 PM)
It's great to be here, I look forward to taking your questions.
How does the buildup for this weekend compare to a normal series? Or last weekend?
Brian Elliott (1:31 PM)
The buildup is basically the same. We've been playing a lot of high-quality teams that have been in the top ten of the rankings. We've been practicing and preparing as if it were any other weekend.
Brian, How much of your success do you accredit to Bill Howard? You obviously have great talent, but is there some edge that gives you that might help out other, younger goalies? Also, how is it to play at the Kohl Center? Do you think the atmosphere of the Coliseum has been reborn or is there room for improvement? Thanks
Brian Elliott (1:33 PM)
The goaltending system that we're taught here at Wisconsin has been a changing system over many years. We practice every day for 45 minutes before the team practice focusing on just goaltending skills. We get a lot of repetitions of every type of save that we'll have to make in the game. It definitely gives us an advantage to have that repetition and attention to detail, but it's all about hard work, just like any other position.
Brian Elliott (1:34 PM)
Having never seen a game at the Coliseum, I don't really know what the atmosphere was when it was a hot spot for hockey. The Kohl Center is amazing to play there in front of all of those fans. It gets our team revved up and the other team pretty intimidated.
Brian, I heard Tom Gilbert called one of the most underrated players in college hockey. What is it that he does so well for you guys?
Brian Elliott (1:36 PM)
I think it's his poise and confidence with the puck. He's obviously defense-minded at first but he's an offensive threat in any situation. He's also a great leader on and off the ice. He definitely has the size and skill to play at the next level. I would rate him as the top defenseman in college hockey.
Any extra motivation for you guys playing against Kessel?
Brian Elliott (1:39 PM)
For me, I don't know him personally but some of the guys on the team do. He is a good player and we'll treat him as any other guy out there on the ice.
Jed (Madison, WI)
Do you have routines or superstitions before a game? Do you handle all games the same or is there something special you do for "big" games?
Brian Elliott (1:40 PM)
I definitely have routines as any player does. As far as superstitions, I will keep those to myself, but every game you treat exactly the same in terms of preparation. As a goaltender you need to keep cool in every situation. You can't get too revved up or too low. You have to keep an even balance between the two.
David Pfeiffer (Kuwait)
What are your thoughts about the value (or lack of it) being No. 2 goalie to Bernd Bruckler last year. What makes you so effective this year?
Brian Elliott (1:41 PM)
Coming into Wisconsin my freshman year I knew that is the way it was going to be, so I worked my hardest and learned as much as possible. I soaked things in as much as I could and just had the confidence in knowing that I can perform as well as any other goaltender out there.
John (Milwaukee, WI)
What goalies do you admire or model your style after?
Brian Elliott (1:42 PM)
I definitely have admired and tried to imitate Ed Belfour my entire life. I love to take aspects of a lot of different goalies and try to take certain things they do and put them into my game to be a more complete goaltender.
Brian, what is 'da most exhiliarating part of being a goalkeeper for 'da beloved BADGERS?
Brian Elliott (1:44 PM)
Basically, it's just relaxing after the game. You're focused so much on every situation during the game so you can't get too revved up when we score a goal. As soon as that last buzzer goes off and we get the win under our belts.
Jed (Madison, WI)
Hey Brian! Great playing, it's been a joy! As the season progresses, do you worry about fatigue at all? Do you expect to rotate goalies more later in the season to combat fatigue?
Brian Elliott (1:46 PM)
We definitely take that into consideration. Every other player plays two games in a row but it is a little more mentally exhausting as a goaltender. As the season progresses, I'm sure Connelly will get the chance to get in there and show he can play as well. It's good for his development and getting a rest won't be too bad either.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:47 PM)
Brian, tell us about the high level of competition you've played so far. There have been matchups against CC, Michigan, St. Lawrence, and North Dakota.
Brian Elliott (1:48 PM)
Having success against those teams is a confidence booster. It's a measuring stick that shows us how good we are and tells us how much opportunity we have this year to do something special.
Brian Elliott (1:49 PM)
Those teams definitely have some guys that can put the puck in the net, so shutting down their power plays and odd-man rushes is something we take pride in.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:49 PM)
What are your team goals as they stand right now? Have you adjusted your outlook for the rest of the season?
Brian Elliott (1:50 PM)
Our goal has always been to win the national championship, so we haven't changed that at all. We are taking steps toward that in practice every day on and off the ice.
Chad (Oconomowoc, WI)
Obvisouly, any matchup with CC is huge but will the rematch be on player's minds more with what happened at the Kohl Center last month? What is the perception of 'retaliation' in college hockey?
Brian Elliott (1:52 PM)
We definitely feel that there's going to be a newfound rivalry with CC. As far as the situation that happened at the Kohl Center, it is over and done with and has been dealt with in the appropriate manner. It will be a matchup of two great teams and I look forward to it.
Brian Elliott (1:52 PM)
Thanks for having me on and thanks for all of your support of college hockey.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:53 PM)
That's all of the time we have with Brian for today. We appreciate him taking the time to stop by and field some questions.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:53 PM)
I'll take a couple of questions to wrap things up.
Andy Marshall, Wisconsin
Do you think that the Badgers are for real? Your pick for the Frozen 4?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:54 PM)
As it currently stands, Wisconsin definitely has to be considered a strong favorite to make it to Milwaukee. It is intriguing to think about the possibility of the Badgers making it back to the Frozen in their home state. Tickets would certainly be hard to come by.
Darren (St Paul)
Any chance the Gophers Phil Kessel comes back for his sophmore season?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:57 PM)
It's never a wise idea to speculate on what goes through a player's mind and what's important in making decisions about his future. College hockey is a wonderful place to develop as a player and a person, but if a team were to invest a high first-round draft pick in Kessel, they would like to see an immediate return on their investment.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:58 PM)
That's all of the time we have for today. Thanks for the questions and thanks again to Brian for stopping by.