Photo credit:Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
‘I’m pulling the monster out of me’: Merzlikins sounds off on trade request after beating Canucks
By Mike Gould1 month ago
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was fired up both on and off the ice after beating the Vancouver Canucks on Monday afternoon.
The Latvian netminder stopped 27 of 30 Canucks shots he faced during regulation and overtime play before denying all four Vancouver players in the shootout to seal a 4-3 victory for the host Blue Jackets.
Making his first appearance in net for the Blue Jackets since December 29, Merzlikins celebrated with extreme enthusiasm after stopping the final shootout attempt by Pius Suter. Merzlikins had previously said in a recent interview with Columbus media that he was frustrated about being used as the team’s third-string goaltender and that his agent was working with the Blue Jackets to find him a “new scenario”.
Monday’s win was clearly a significant one for Merzlikins on a personal level. He expanded upon that sentiment in his post-game interview with Bally Sports Columbus.
“Well, it definitely wasn’t an easy game for me. I didn’t play [for] a while,” Merzlikins said. “At the start of the game I did not [feel the puck well]. Each period was better and better and better. The third period was awesome. Overtime and the penalty shots, I’m really happy about it.
“I’m just mad. I’m going to tell you honestly, I’m mad, and I’m pulling the monster out of me now,” Merzlikins continued. “There was no other choice [than] a win. I needed this win, I needed this win, and I got it, and now I’m laughing.”
Wow! Talk about a statement from the 27-year-old goaltender, who improved to 8-8-0 on the year with the victory on Monday. Merzlikins further discussed his future in another media availability on Monday:
“After my last interview, everybody knows I requested for [a] trade,” Merzlkins said. “Everyone was still here, playing for me and blocking the shots for me. This was awesome.
“I really appreciate [my teammates]. It wasn’t an easy game for me, and they made me feel easier,” Merzlikins added. “They let me feel that puck better and easier and I appreciate for that help.”
Merzlikins may eventually be on his way out of Columbus, but for the time being, he seems pretty happy about beating the Canucks — and seemingly proving the point he made in his last media availability that he is “not going to be a No. 3” goaltender, despite the Blue Jackets deploying him as one of late.
We’ll see if the Blue Jackets are able to use Merzlikins’ performance against the Canucks on Monday to further any potential trade talks involving the 29-year-old goaltender, who is under contract for three years after this one at a $5.4 million cap hit.
For the Canucks’ part, at least they still managed to get a point out of Monday’s game in Columbus. J.T. Miller, Conor Garland, and Elias Pettersson all scored in the 4-3 setback at Nationwide Arena.
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