No pane, no gain for Glass

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Anders Hedberg calls it "silent determination." The Senators director of player personnel likes players that have it and that is why he likes goaltender Jeff Glass.

"You can't touch it, you can't see it, you can't feel it," Hedberg said yesterday. "But it's there and it's part of the personality."

Glass, 19, will start in net this afternoon for the Senators rookies as they face their counterparts from the Carolina Hurricanes at the Corel Centre (4:30 p.m.)

That silent determination has spoken volumes for Glass, a kid who seems to start off at each level as part of the woodwork and winds up at centre stage.

Maybe he'll do the same thing with the Senators. You could say the same sort of thing about Kelly Guard, the Senators other goaltender at rookie camp, a kid who went undrafted and wound up leading the Kelowna Rockets to the 2004 Memorial Cup.

Glass was not drafted as a bantam in the WHL, but walked-on and earned himself a job with the Kootenay Ice.

He started off as the backup goaltender in 2002-03, but was the starter before the year was out.

He was the Canadian Hockey League's goaltender of the year last season.

He was never one of the kids picked to participate in Hockey Canada's program of excellence and wasn't invited to the national junior team's development camp last summer.

But his outstanding play during the regular season earned him a look in the final selection camp in December.

Guess who won the job heading off to the world championship?

"I realized I had as good a chance as anybody. I had an opportunity and I jumped on it," Glass said yesterday of the world junior camp. "It was good for me the way camp was set up. There were a lot of guys from the West. I knew a lot of the guys and I felt comfortable right off the bat. I fit in just fine. I was one of the guys.

"It worked out for me, but I think it was because the guys made me feel comfortable."

CALLED 'WEAKEST LINK'

While in North Dakota, Glass didn't get much in the way of respect.

"They have good forwards, good defencemen," said Russia's Alexander Ovechkin, "but nobody knows who the goalie is."

Czech captain Petr Vrana called Glass "the weakest link."

Who was in net when Canada won its first gold medal in eight years?

See a pattern here?

The Senators picked Glass before his gold-medal winning performance (5-0, 1.40 GAA), taking him in the third round of the 2004 draft (89th overall).

Hedberg likes the mental toughness and ability Glass has shown.

Goaltenders take longer to develop -- which makes them more of a gamble at draft age -- but a guy who has battled the odds likely has a won't-quit attitude.

"You look for people who find a way to win, find a way to come up with that big save when you need that big save," said Hedberg.

"If you look at the goaltenders in the National Hockey League, there's a wider spread in where they come from and their backgrounds than in the other positions. It's that you have to evaluate them at 18 and you have these intangibles, that you can't touch, you can't see, to find a way to win the game.

CUJO, BELFOUR UNDRAFTED

"It takes longer to develop that part of the personality. Curtis Joseph? Never drafted. Ed Belfour? Never drafted. You can go through the whole league and not very many of them have a straight line. They've done some different (things) to find their way to the NHL.

"These guys have not had a straight course in front of them."

Hedberg likes the fact when he called Glass earlier this summer, he caught the goaltender between practice and his job as a waiter.

"He said, 'I have to pay my bills,' " remembered Hedberg. "I liked that. He was working as a waiter to pay his bills. He takes responsibility."

Glass looks at the Senators' depth chart and sees what he's seen just about everywhere he's been.

"I realize there are a few guys here ahead of me, but I'm here to develop. I'm just going to work on getting bigger and stronger," he said.

"Skill wise, I think a lot of guys are pretty close to the same level, but it's the mental part of the game you need to develop with age and time.

"It's hard work and determination that's got me where I am," said Glass, "and it's going to get me to where I want to be."


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