Sens fans, say hello once again to your new/old starting goaltender, Martin Gerber.
Until further notice, the man best known for lifting an outskilled Swiss team over Team Canada in the Olympics, has usurped the Ray Emery Situation in the Ottawa crease.
And while this may prevent Ottawa police from pulling over Emery each time he drives to the corner store to get milk, it represents a dice rolling of a whole different kind for the on-ice product.
When Gerber signed with the Senators in 2006, the master plan was to install him as the No. 1 and ride the man who had played in two of the past three Stanley Cup finals. Well, maybe played was overselling it – he was certainly there, but as the backup on both occasions.
In fact, when the Sens got rolled in Anaheim last year, it pushed Gerber’s finals attendance mark to three times in four seasons. In those three playoff runs, Gerber played a total of eight games. And yes, that is less than half the appearances Emery had last year alone in the post-season.
But don’t push the panic button yet.
Despite his lack of playoff experience in North America, Gerber has faced the pressure cooker of a championship run in Europe. He took Swedish club Farjestad to the final during the lockout and even scored a goal in the post-season at the beginning of his career in the Swiss League.
The fact is, the Senators have acted as though they only wanted people to think Gerber was a No. 1 goaltender – he has only played the majority of his NHL team’s regular season games once before in his career, and was replaced by eventual Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward when that Cup run began – while not really buying it themselves.
As we have asked several times in The Hockey News lately, if Emery is such a distraction, why not send him to Binghamton and ride Gerber the rest of the way?
Is it because Emery isn’t the havoc-wrecker he has been made out to be, or because the Sens fear what would happen if they let Gerber fly without a safety net? The Senators better have an answer, because at this point in the season, you can’t trickle any blood in the water.