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Elvis is alive and living in columbus Ohio

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If the playoffs started today.....Well Bettman and the league would be surprised. No seriously, the Columbus bluejackets after losing the Bread Man, Bob, Dzingel, Duchene and a few other lesser luminaries, picked by most to finish in the basement are currently sitting in a playoff spot as we ramp up for the all star game. And one of the biggest reasons is rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins. 


 Elvis, a 25 year old Latvian who is six foot three and rail thin came over to the States to compete with fellow Latvian Matiss Kivlenieks for the right to back up Joonas Korpisalo. Kivlenieks came over to the States a couple of years ago and seemed a lock to win the backup role out of camp as he had performed well for a couple of years for Cleveland but Elvis won the job.Elvis kind of started slow as the backup as Korpi went 17-10 with a solid goals against and save pect. When Korpi went down, Elvis took over in net and has found his game, becoming one of the leagues most dominating netminders with three shutouts in his past four starts. Elvis signs are everywhere in Nationwide right now, Torts cannot quit gushing over the clubs find in net,  The team is 26-16-8 and Korpi may be doing a Wally Pipp act, losing his job to a rookie due to injury.


  This club should not be where they are, the goaltending and defense have been brilliant, in fact only Dallas has given up less goals in the entire league not shabby for a team that was unable to resign their superstar goalie in Bobrovsky. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski have been brilliant on the back end,  Werenski rediscovering his offense actually leads his team in goals scored with 15 the most of any defenseman in the game this year. The forwards are a rag tag bunch with Dubois becoming a minor star before our eyes but other than him it is a lunch pail group with captain Foligno being a perfect rep for what the Jackets are all about. Sellfless, 200 foot in your face, contest every puck, and opportunistic on offense when they catch their opponent in a change or too many men up ice. Kids like eric robinson, Emil Bemstrom,Texier, Gavrikov, Stenlund and Kukan all take regular shifts on a nightly basis, all are no name hard working run through a wall for you types, even veteran Nyquist who came over this offseason who has never been known to play two way hockey has bought in, he said the other day that this is the most fun he has ever had playing Hockey. They are in the thick of things in spite of Cam Atkinson who had 41 tucks last year having only 12 and missing a dozen games, and Josh Anderson who looked like Tom Wilson last year has been injured off and on all year and has only 1 goal. 


  It all comes down to the defense and the goaltending and Elvis is stealing the show. I understand he has come from nowhere and people have suspicious minds of kids who do that,  the Jacket fans, my wife included cannot help falling in love with him and do not want to return to sender the Latvian kid. The fans hope that the fates dont be cruel, their burning love for the kid has them thinking playoffs and hope that Nationwide is hosting meaningful games come springtime and that their barn doesn't turn into a heartbreak hotel.

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  The kid has a grin a mile wide and seems to love the game.

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