Nobody looked worse than Gerber

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Darcy "Mother" Tucker sounded like he'd been reading the Ottawa newspapers.

Specifically, quotes about consistency from the mouth of Bryan Murray.

"He gives them something they haven't had here in a long time," the Leafs winger said of Senators goalie Martin Gerber after a morning skate yesterday. "He's not that spectacular goalie, but he's a goalie you know what you're going to get from on a nightly basis."

Today, Ottawa fans are nodding their heads in agreement about Gerber's lack of "spectacular." And they can only hope they don't see many more nights like the one that just passed from their new 'tender.

For on a home opener that saw the Senators lay a big fat egg, Gerber wore the yolk on his face.

He gave them something they haven't had here in a long time, all right. At least not since Patrick Lalime played his way out of Ottawa on April 20, 2004 -- in Game 7 of a first round playoff series loss to (almost) these very same Leafs.

Chad Kilger played the part of Joe Nieuwendyk, beating Gerber from the left wing faceoff circle with a shot that everyone admits should have been stopped. Tucker made it 2-0 with a good wrister, but also one that would have hit Gerber had he been upright.

And while partial blame for Toronto's third goal belongs on Wade Redden and Andrej Meszaros, Gerber might want to look around to see if a teammate is coming before teeing up the puck behind his net. "It was just a misunderstanding," Gerber said of that Kilger tap-in goal.

The Senators were a bad lot in this embarrassing, 6-0 home opening loss to a team that will have its hands full making the playoffs. And a very inconsistent Gerber -- in two periods before being mercifully replaced -- was the worst of it.

STARTS AND STOPS: Best thing Murray could tell you after last night's game? "We play Saturday night," he said. How good that is, with the Sabres providing the opposition, remains to be seen ... Denis Hamel and Tomas Malec were the only two Senators not a minus, and it wasn't because they saw scarce ice, as the fourth line winger and call up defencemen played 10:01 and 14:47 respectively ... Buffalo and now Ottawa are believed to be the only two NHL teams having their own full ice video projection system. The Senators debuted theirs last night and, aside from the logos that interfere with the pictures and clips, it looked pretty good. Wonder what those folks in the lower bowl think, if they can even see it? Ah who cares, they can afford lower bowl seats ... "You can't really blame the Senators for this performance," one pressbox wag offered during the second period. "I mean, they had to play last night, then fly back home from Toronto." ... The new Leafs defensive pairing of Hal Gill and Ian White are known as Fred and Barney, respectively, for their resemblance to the lovable Flintstone and Rubble characters we grew up watching on the tube. Mike Fisher must be more of a Jetsons guy, however, as he Bed-rocked both on the same first period shift last night, then drilled Pavel Kubina for good measure before heading to the bench .... Fisher meant business from the outset, recording five of Ottawa's 10 first period hits.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: The Leafs were thrilled to meet Stephen Harper as he toured their dressing room following Wednesday's game in Toronto. "The Trailer Park Boys and the PM ... it's been a good month," said Wade Belak, a self-proclaimed "seeker" who visited Bubbles' restaurant in Halifax during the pre-season .... In attendance was Hall of Fame chucker Fergie Jenkins, who ranks second on our list of favourites Fergies after Miss Black Eyed Pea ... Asked on TV if he knew who Harper is, Leafs coach Paul Maurice joked "yeah, he runs that brewery (that produces) Harper Ale." Maurice couldn't understand why only the cameramen chuckled. Had to be either because everybody else knows it as Harp Ale, or that they did too and we're actually laughing at the Leafs coach ... That Peter Schaefer is a pretty solid penalty killer, eh? Of course, the Sens prefer when he kills their penalties, not those of the opposition like he did on two occasions by committing an interference and hooking infraction with Ottawa on first period power plays.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Hamel's father, Gilbert, managed to pull himself away from the family's horse racing farm in Lachute, Que. to attend last night's game. It's been a good year for the Hamels, as Denis' return to the NHL comes just months after Gilbert-trained 2-year-old filly Coup de Coeur established herself as the fastest mare in Quebec. Denis, who posted a first and two seconds in the sulky five years ago, helps out around the farm during the offseason. "I tried to race one last summer," he said of his dad's nine horses. "They're hard to catch." ... Now you know why your Blackberry was so pricey. The guy needed an extra $175 mil (US) to blow on a hockey team ... There are only two kinds of hockey fans, Toronto boosters will tell you. Those who cheer for their team and those who will eventually come around. "Let your inner Leaf out," Maurice told an Ottawa guy jokingly yesterday.

END TO END: How bad was this night for the ticket buyers? Even a second period fight between Brian McGrattan and Belak was booed. Might have had something to do with the fact that it was stopped before either really landed a punch ... "It's like playing with a little Mike Fisher," Chris Neil says of his new centre, Dean McAmmond. "He's good." ... Stuntman Stu's pre-game player introductions went cross-country as HNIC gave The Bank's new P.A. guy some air time. Liked his "and now, please welcome tonight's opponents, the Toronto Maple Leafs," drone that generated the expected response ... Think maybe John Muckler should have went after Andrew Raycroft instead of Gerber in the offseason? He would have been able to keep Zdeno Chara had he done so.


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