The NHL's all-star selection process can look ridiculous at times, can't it?
Ray Emery's 2-1-0 win-loss record, 3.00 goals-against average and .895 save percentage is on the fan ballot.
Martin Gerber is not.
Gerber, who is among the NHL's GAA and save percentage leaders, made 35 saves in picking up his league-high 12th victory of the season last night.
To further illustrate his remarkable turnaround, consider that Gerber didn't pick up his 12th victory until Feb. 27 last season. It was his 23rd start, and it gave him a 12-9-2 record.
He is now a 22-1-2 in his last 25 starts.
The Senators have a league-high six players on the ballots, which were clearly made up before the season started, Emery is joined by Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips and Wade Redden.
"That's just for the starting six, isn't it? Gerbs is definitely going to get a look (when the rosters are filled out)," said Redden. "A lot of nights he's been our best player, along with Alfie. Tonight, he won that one for us. At the start of the second, he made three or four saves to keep us in it."
STARTS AND STOPS: The Sabres' popularity in the Buffalo community isn't as high as it was this time last year, and that's only partly because of the 6-9-1 record they lugged into Ottawa. "The Bills are above .500 now," said defenceman Brian Campbell. "We've got some competition. Everybody loves a winner. It's never fun losing in any city, especially Buffalo." ... Receiving a standing ovation when it was announced he was playing in game No. 800 of his career, Alfredsson stood up from his spot on the bench and waved to the fans. He gave them another wave after sitting down, when they kept it up.
BETWEEN PERIODS: Some of Ottawa's top players were pylons in a skating drill for Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford moments before Alfredsson's first goal. It was scored into a wide-open net after Mike Fisher fed Alfredsson with a Spezza-like pass ... The best scoring chance during a double minor to Schubert in the second period belonged to Antoine Vermette, who was stopped by Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller on a clear-cut breakaway ... Near the end of the same "kill," Fisher lost his stick and, with both hands free, tossed Toni Lydman into the corner when the Sabres captain of the day got in his way.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM: Emery's back must have been bothering him during yesterday's morning skate. Otherwise, there's no way he would have been off the ice and changed with that night's starter still facing shots. No way, right? ... In honour of Alfredsson's milestone mark, we feel obliged to remind you that the Senators captain was selected in the sixth round of the 1994 entry draft -- just 121 picks after Toronto's free-and-easy trash walker, Wade Belak ... Don't blame the Leafs for taking Belak 12th overall that year. The Quebec Nordiques did ... Spezza is anxious to buy a copy of Rob Ray's book Rayzor's Edge when it hits Buffalo book stores later this month. Supporting your old buddy, eh Jason? "I roomed with him my first year, I just want to see if he threw anybody under the bus," Spezza said with a chuckle. "We'll buy one copy and circulate it around the room."
LINE CHANGING: Playing in his 400th NHL game, Chris Neil made it to the best league in the world more on his hard and honest work ethic than pure, God-given talent. As a young lad, he was determined to get here. In Grade 3, Neil's principal asked him what he was going to be when he grew up. "I'm going to play in the NHL," said Neil. "Be realistic," said the principal. "I'm going to play in the NHL," said Neil. These days, the two occassionally cross paths when Neil is back in his home town of Flesherton. "I rub it in whenever I see him," Neil recalled yesterday ... Anton Volchenkov was credited with three blocked shots. Guess it just seem liked he threw himself in front of a lot more ... Fisher had a great game, adding a team-high seven hits to going along with his two assists.