(HockeySTL) -- Injured Blues goaltender, Brian Elliott, had a heavy workload Sunday afternoon and the goalie fared well enough to begin talking about a return date, perhaps coming as soon as Tuesday against Nashville.
“We’ll see,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said if Elliott could play on the upcoming West Coast road trip, which begins Friday in Anaheim. “It might be before that. We have two games left so we’ll see. All we know is we are one day at a time.”
Martin Brodeur will start Monday against Colorado, but Hitchcock hasn’t decided on his starter for any games following that.
“We are going to start Marty tomorrow but our hope is that he’s ready here in the next couple of days,” Hitchcock said.
Elliott, who was medically cleared Sunday, is likely to play within the next week, but exactly when is up the goaltender.
“It’s up to him and (goaltending coach Jim Corsi),” said Hitchcock. “The doctors have cleared him; it’s up to him and how he feels.”
“I don’t know what our protocol is going to be here,” said Elliott. “It’s just going to be a discussion between how I’m feeling, how the trainer feels and how I feel. I just want to be able to give my all for the guys and not be any kind of liability.”
Elliott, who has missed the last 13 games with a knee injury, has been progressing over the last week and felt well enough to participate without restraint Sunday.
“I was able to get a whole net for a whole practice and test it even more,” Elliott said. “It’s tough to get an actual workout without battling through drills when you get tired.”
The knee injury was sustained on Nov. 25 when an opponent player fell over Elliott. It put a halt to the goaltender’s exceptional start. Prior to the injury, Elliott was one of the hottest goalies in the league with an 8-4-1 record, a .931 save percentage and a 1.82 goals against average.
“If he can come back and put up those kinds of numbers, I guarantee you we are going to win a lot of hockey games,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a radio interview with KMOX Saturday.
The recovery process was a long and rigorous one and Elliott admitted that there were some setbacks throughout the ordeal.
“That’s part of it,” Elliott said. “Part of the healing process and feeling that pain and letting everything heal itself up. It’s that fine line.”
Elliott’s return couldn’t come at a better time for the Blues, who are winless in their last four games, securing just one of a possible eight points. Rookie goaltender Jake Allen, who has played the bulk of the games in Elliott’s absence, has allowed nine goals in his last two starts combined.
“I obviously want to be a part of the team,” Elliott said. “It’s tough to watch the guys go through a struggle. It’s part of building a team is going through those things together. I’m glad to be back in the locker room with those guys. It makes you want to get out there and help.”
Elliott was recently placed on long-term injured reserve for money-saving purposes. Once he is activated, a corresponding move will have to be made to maneuver the roster down to 23 players.
Armstrong has stated multiple times that the team would like to carry three goaltenders until they are sure Elliott is 100 percent. Only defenseman Petteri Lindbohm and forward Dmitrij Jaskin can be sent to the American Hockey League without having to pass through waivers.