Gerber: Ottawa 'best place for me'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:12 PM ET

Martin Gerber is not satisfied with one Stanley Cup ring.

So when the goaltender -- fresh off a Cup win with the Hurricanes -- hit the NHL's free-agent market on Saturday, he wanted to join a team that gave him the best chance of winning another championship.

After considering offers from the Blues, Red Wings and Senators, Gerber decided to make Ottawa his home for the next three seasons.

"I saw (Ottawa) as one of the best two teams we faced last year," Gerber said in a conference call yesterday with reporters from his home in Switzerland. "To me, this was a good choice. (Ottawa) is a talented team and an organization that wants to win. There's no question about it. I'm glad I'm going to get the chance to play with a team like this."

SWAYED BY MURRAY

It didn't hurt Ottawa's chances that Gerber played for Senators coach Bryan Murray in Anaheim and he admitted that was part of the reason he came to the nation's capital.

"There's no question that having (Murray) there helped, yes," said Gerber.

The 31-year-old Gerber, armed with a three-year, $11.1-million US deal, doesn't seem too concerned that a lot will be expected of him considering he's replacing future hall of famer Dominik Hasek in the Senators net.

"I don't think there's any more pressure," said Gerber, who had a 38-14-6 record and 2.78 GAA in 60 games with Carolina last season. "I look at it as excitement. I look at it as a fun situation and you don't get opportunities like this too many times in your life. This is going to be a good situation for me."

Whether Gerber gets into 60 games in 2006-07 is debatable, as Murray will want to give backup Ray Emery some work in case the Senators wind up in a situation like they did last season when Hasek missed the last 12 weeks of the season due to injury.

Gerber wasn't the only goalie the Senators considered.

GM John Muckler wasn't able to swing a deal with the Sharks for Vesa Toskala, but it's possible that deal could take another direction and still involve Senators winger Martin Havlat.

Muckler also toyed for a long time with the idea of bringing Hasek back, but in the end he decided the Senators needed new blood.

BEST AVAILABLE

With that in mind, the Senators deemed Gerber to be the best goalie available once free agency began.

Gerber, who lost his job during the playoffs to eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward because of an illness that caused him to lose 20 lbs., said it was the luck of the draw that forced him out of the post-season.

"They never really did find out what it was," Gerber said of the illness. "You get sick two or three times a year and for me it just came at a bad time. There's not a lot that you are able to do about it."

But Gerber, who did shut the Sabres out in a second-round game during the Hurricanes' run to a Stanley Cup title, is putting that experience behind him and focusing on the future.

"The determining factor for me (joining the Senators) was what a strong team they have in Ottawa. I thought that this would be the best place for me."


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