Columbus coach Pascal Vincent throws Elvis Merzlikins under the bus

Elvis was simply doing what every other NHL player wants to do.



Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlinkins did what just about every other NHL player wants to do to noted pest Tom Wilson, finally losing his patience after having had to deal with him all game long and getting into it with him physically in overtime: 

Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, it was Merzlikins who was assessed the only penalty on the play, and it would cost them the overtime winner. 

Afterward, Merzlikins accepted his share of the blame for what transpired, but didn't exactly sound sorry for standing up for himself against the notorious Wilson.

“We deserved to win tonight,” Merzlikins said. “Guys played really outstanding, I think. We did really well, our jobs, so … I mean I feel guilty, but at the same time, I’m sorry, it’s an emotional game. I reacted. Maybe I should control my emotions, but I didn’t.”

“I mean, it’s an emotional game,” Merzlikins said. “It’s an emotional game. He slew-footed me very first shift and he was after me all game long. So, I was trying to grab my stick. I got punched in the head. Before that (on the breakaway), I’m pretty sure he was trying to get me hurt. So, I was just trying to get my stick. I got punched. Well, I’m gonna defend myself.”

For Merzlikins, he feels that the play by Wilson could have resulted in serious injury, and he was simply giving Wilson his just comeuppance. 

“Watch the replay,” Merzlikins said. “He was going straight at my knee. I could be out for the rest of the season, and he got what he deserved. I don’t care. Like, seriously. I could be out for the rest of the season. He was going straight for my knee with full speed. He was driving the net. I get it, but he could avoid me. A lot of players avoid goalies. He definitely wasn’t avoiding me.”

However, Blue Jackets head coach Pascal Vincent didn't exactly stand up for his goaltender. 

“Tom Wilson’s job is to get in people’s face, in the goalie’s face, and he’s creating a lot of emotions,” Vincent said. “The emotions were high, and he did what he had to do … and we reacted. It cost us the game."

“He does that to every team, every game,” Vincent said of Wilson. “That’s his job and he’s one of the best in the league (at it). We know it. So, (Merzlikins) has to control his emotions. We’re going in 3-on-2 on the other side (if that doesn’t happen). … that moment, we have to get better. That’s unacceptable.”

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