Gerber masking discontent?

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Goalie Martin Gerber has worn a black mask void of any Senators logos when he's skated with teammates at the Bell Sensplex.

Anything significant there?

After Gerber and Senators GM Bryan Murray had their exit interview last spring, it was left that maybe a change in scenery would be best for Gerber, who lost the Senators' starting job to Ray Emery.

But trading Gerber and his $3.75-million US per salary is easier said than done, especially after the season he had last year.

So, as some have suggested, is the blank mask a silent statement of Gerber's desire for a trade, like the plain white one Martin Biron wore in Buffalo last year (he was finally moved at the trade deadline)?

"That's B.S.," said Gerber, who has been getting ready for Ottawa's training camp, which begins today.

"I'm trying the newest model from Itech. We're just working on this one and the one for games should be ready by now. This was just to try it out and see if it works.

'READY TO GO'

"My personal goal is to get back in net, get as much ice time as possible, as quick as possible. I'm here and ready to go. At the end of the season I said (to Murray), 'I need to play.' I want to play. It doesn't matter where it is at this point. I have to be playing to get my career going again.' Those were the words we had."

Of course, sending Gerber to the Senators' American Hockey League farm club in Binghamton might also be an option down the road. If the chance came to sign a top-six forward and Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was willing to swallow Gerber's salary, that move would save the Senators the cap hit.

But that's an option for another day.

Who knows? Maybe Gerber will win back the top job.

With Emery coming off surgery, anything is possible.

Gerber is hungry to show his start last year was an aberration. After signing a three-year deal, Gerber went 3-8-1 to start last season.

'A TOUGH TIME'

"We needed a way better performance by me to prevent what happened," said Gerber. "It was a tough time, but maybe it was a good learning experience. I'm trying to learn from it. After Christmas, I think we played really well as a team. It was different team game we had."

When the sky was falling on the Senators in November, when the rumours of people being fired or traded reached their peak, Emery went out and beat the first-place Buffalo Sabres.

He started the next six games, going 4-2 and the job was Emery's after that.

Gerber is going to fight Emery for the job here, even after being put in the interesting situation of having Eli Wilson, Emery's personal goaltending mentor, hired as the Senators goaltending coach in the off-season.

Gerber was working with Wilson on one sheet of ice at the Sensplex yesterday, while the Senators scrimmaged on another.

Gerber will get a good chance early in camp to show what he can do this time around since Emery's surgically repaired wrist won't allow him to take shots for another 10 days or so.

What the future holds isn't something Gerber will think about once camp starts.

"All I have to do at this point is provide good practice and good games and do whatever I can to make the team better," he said. "That's pretty much all I have to focus on now. Everything else is not in my hands."


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