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Senators sticking with hot hand

Wednesday, 17.10.2007 / 3:53 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Senators sticking with hot hand
When you’re riding a hot hand, why mess with success?

So it is that the Ottawa Senators will turn to goaltender Martin Gerber one more time Thursday night when the Montreal Canadiens visit Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., A-Channel, Team 1200). The Swiss goaltender, who owns a league-leading five wins to go along with his 1.99 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, has played a huge role in the Sens’ 6-1-0 start to the 2007-08 season.

“In some ways, it’s like why change at this stage?” Senators head coach John Paddock said after another brisk team practice Wednesday morning. “(Gerber) has deserved to play based on his play. It’s not like we’re 3-3 and we’re looking for a change or a spark.

Martin Gerber will make his seventh start of the season against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night (Andy Marlin/Getty Images).
“We’re looking for the situation to continue and I think when Rayzer (Ray Emery) plays, it will continue just because the team’s playing well. He’ll go into his spot and the team rolls on. That’s what we’re looking to do here, keep rolling on.”

Emery, who is raring to go after completing his recovery from off-season wrist surgery, now won’t make his season debut until Saturday at the earliest, when the Florida Panthers are in town. Paddock said it’s still too soon to make that decision.

Gerber has thrived on the heavy workload so far and, given that Senators are in the middle of a stretch with only three games in 18 days, welcomes another chance to start.

 “It’s definitely (great) for me to get back in there and it’s going to be an exciting game, too. I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I was really hoping to get the nod (Thursday). I wouldn’t have been surprised if Rayzer had played, because it’s been a long time (out of the lineup for him) and he has to get in there at some point.”

Clearly, though, this is a team that knows it has a more than capable stopper behind them every night, whether it’s Gerber or Emery between the pipes.

“Everybody’s trying to make a controversy about it and the season’s barely started,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “It’s a good problem for us to have. I think we’ve got good trust in Gerber, and we want Emery to get in there to play some games. That should give us a great 1-2 tandem.

“We definitely believe in both of them.”

One change in the lineup could come up front, where Paddock indicated newly signed Randy Robitaille will make his Senators debut. Robitaille cleared NHL waivers yesterday, which brought a smile of relief to the face of the Ottawa native.

The 32-year-old forward had started the season with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Super League, but asked for his release when he learned that his wife, Joanne, is pregnant. They’re expecting their third child in January.

“It’s fortunate for myself and my family that we ended up in a good spot here,” said Robitaille. “I’m excited to be a part of this organization … what the Senators mean to this community is something special, and I’m excited to be a part of that. And it definitely makes things easier living at home and having the support of your family and friends.”

Who sits with Robitaille in? Paddock said that decision hasn’t been made yet.

“We could move Schubie (Christoph Schubert) back to D and make a switch there, or we could take a forward out,” he said. “We (coaches) haven’t talked about it yet.”

Fewer than 200 tickets remain for Thursday’s game.





1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
3 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
4 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
5 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
6 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
7 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
8 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31


B. Ryan 43 12 21 7 33
E. Karlsson 46 11 22 -5 33
K. Turris 46 9 20 -8 29
M. Stone 44 11 15 9 26
M. Hoffman 43 16 9 19 25
C. MacArthur 45 13 11 -7 24
M. Zibanejad 44 11 12 1 23
D. Legwand 45 7 12 -4 19
A. Chiasson 43 7 10 -8 17
M. Michalek 42 6 9 -7 15
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 6 7 2 .900 3.16