For a guy who stands just 6-foot-2, Ray Emery casts a much longer shadow.
In fact, from his spot on the end of the Senators bench, it clearly interferes with Martin Gerber's vision in The Bank's east end crease.
Consider that, during the first period of last night's visit by the Habs, Gerber looked way too much like his old self. Not good.
It started early, on a second-minute rush by Guillaume Latendresse. The sophomore skated down the right wing and sent a backhand toward Gerber that the goalie stopped, but in doing so slid out of position. It wasn't the positionally sound, calm and confident move Gerber had been making in his previous six games.
It was the Gerber of yesteryear.
Worse was his misplaying of a Latendresse shot along the goal line from the left-wing corner at the 17:11 mark.
Thinking he was up tight against the post, Gerber just looked up tight. He let the puck hit his right skate then deflect in. Replay officials were called. Yes, indeed, they confirmed, the Senators goalie really was that bad on the shot.
Can't remember Gerber having similarly suspect moments when Emery was in the infirmary with a wonky wrist.
Next time they give Gerber a start, the Senators might want to ask Razor to stay home.
STARTS AND STOPS: Apparently, John Paddock wanted to open the game with a bang. His starting forward unit consisted of Christoph Schubert, Mike Fisher and Chris Neil, and in the 17 seconds it stayed together generated a hard shot (by Fisher) on Habs rookie G Carey Price and drew a penalty (on Patrice Brisebois) that the Ottawa power play took 14 seconds to capitalize on. Schubert was replaced by Nick Foligno and returned to his limited fourth-line role, but expect Paddock to throw him out there with Fisher and Neil again. When it comes to CRASH lines, can any team come up with one better? ... Neil drew a roar of approval from the crowd when he dangled Andrei Markov before sending the follow-up backhand just wide. It was reminiscent of a Jason Spezza-Sheldon Souray come-together at the same end of the ice, minus the finishing touch.
BETWEEN PERIODS: Foligno's "leap" had to send a chill down the spine of fathers everywhere ... I'm all for adding depth and going local, but any time you're taking the top heavyweight in the NHL out of a game in October, it's not a good thing ... Randy Robitaille's first shift as a Senator almost ended in celebration. Instead, he was stoned by Price when backhanding a rebound from a hard Schubert shot ... Of course, Gerber did make some good stops, too, including one off Christopher Higgins when the Hab was in alone late in the first.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: There was the still mending Dean McAmmond after yesterday morning's skate, sitting in his stall surrounded by Montreal reporters. And to think that, before he was hit in the head by Steve Downie, McAmmond couldn't even speak French ... Robitaille had a chance late in the second period, just to the side of Price. Either somebody snuck a rubber stick in his hands, or he's got a very soft and erratic shot in his arsenal ... Shean Donovan, after trying to take the puck away from Daniel Alfredsson during a morning skate game of keepaway: "I didn't realize how good the guy is until I got here."
LAST LINE CHANGE: Sportnet's Ian "Don't Call Me Eva" Mendes points out that the list of those to wear a Senators jersey now includes a Robitaille, Hull, Roy and Bourque. "It's just too bad it wasn't Luc, Brett, Patrick and Ray," said Mendes. It's true, they are no Randy, Jody, Andre and Phil ... The issue came up again yesterday morning, and Alex Kovalev made it clear he knew who was at fault. "I couldn't believe the way everybody twisted the story. Everybody knows everything is fine, but somebody was just ... instead of having a little support for our team, they're making it worse again." Habs coach Guy Carbonneau waded in, too. "You guys have way more problems with me and Kovie, than we do, me and him. Good players speak their mind, they have their own opinions. It's going to happen that sometimes some things come out. I have no problem with him." Yup, it's the media's fault for not "supporting" the Habs but reporting that a star questioned his coach's decision ORRRRR maybe Kovalev could have said what he had to say to Carbonneau behind closed doors, rather than sharing his opinion with a scrum. It IS only Kovalev's fourth season in Montreal, after all. How is he to know that reporters following the Canadiens are actually going to use those notes they're taking to write a (gasp!) story in the newspaper?