Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins is about done with the 2020-21 NHL season.
The 27-year-old Latvian netminder got honest with the media after Columbus suffered an eighth straight loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday evening. The Blue Jackets have lost 11 of their past 12 games and were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
“I’m tired of losing the game,” Merzlikins said. “I know we’re trying, but this is getting embarrassing…It’s painful sitting in that locker room. Trust me we are trying. We didn’t give up. It’s just a really bad year. I just want to finish and delete this year and not think about it.”
Eight straight losses for Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins gets honest in his post-game pic.twitter.com/v8eKkkJ7id
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 23, 2021
Merzlikins was emotional throughout the interview, adding that the team’s performance was an embarrassment to the organization.
“It’s embarrassing for us and our organization; we’re embarrassing our organization and that’s the bad part. We are not doing this on purpose. We’re really trying.”
Merzlikins told reporters he’s had trouble sleeping and these losses are hurting him personally.
“Eight games like … that’s seriously heavy,” Merzlikins said. “I don’t want it to get, like, to Buffalo … I don’t want to get to that point like Buffalo.”
If you want to watch Merzlikins’ full seven-minute media availability after the Blue Jackets’ 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay, you can watch it below.
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 23, 2021
Merzlikins has been a bright spot in an awful year for the Blue Jackets, posting a .910 save percentage in 18 starts. He’s been splitting his crease time with Joonas Korpisalo, who owns a .894 save percentage in 30 starts.
These are very difficult times in Columbus, but you have to respect any NHL player who speaks as openly and honestly as Merzlikins did Thursday evening.