Living on Rayzer's edge

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

The Senators are Ray Emery's team now.

Nothing is official, but there's really no need for coach John Paddock to make a formal announcement either.

Emery will make his fifth straight start tonight at home vs. the Maple Leafs.

Martin Gerber is going to be in the net tomorrow in Boston, but that's mainly due to that contest being the middle of three games in four nights.

Paddock wasn't willing to anoint a No. 1 goalie with the title following a 45-minute workout yesterday. However, with only 20 games left, the Senators have decided it's time to stop playing musical goalies.

Unless there's a massive change of heart or he completely falls apart, Emery is the man and will be down the stretch.

Why? All you have to do is look at the numbers and the compelling evidence: Tonight's visit by the Leafs will be his eighth start in 10 games, he helped the Senators get to the Stanley Cup final last year and there is no saviour coming in at the trade deadline.

It's debatable whether Emery deserves the No. 1 job after arriving late for practice a couple of times this year and having his work ethic questioned. The "win-and-you're in" approach also failed miserably. However, Paddock did concede the Senators are getting ready to settle on Emery.

"We're going along that line (of riding Emery)," said Paddock. "We're pointed in that direction."

'VERY SOON'

While Paddock maintained both goalies are going to get a chance to play, he plans to meet with Emery and Gerber later this week to let them know how the playing time will be divvied up down the stretch.

Paddock said last month he'd like to have a top goalie in place at this point. He admitted at the time he didn't realize the 20-game mark fell at the NHL trade deadline and that's why there's been the delay.

"There will be that conversation very soon, period, about playing time and stuff for both of them," said Paddock. "(That will probably happen) in the middle of this week when everything is clear (after the trade deadline). I'm sure we'll have some meetings with the personnel that's here.

"I'm not sure if that will be individually or with the personnel that could come (at the deadline), but that will come in the next short time."

Of course, we'd like to tell you how Emery was feeling personally about carrying the ball, but he bolted from the rink quickly following practice.

Gerber was tight-lipped about the whole situation.

This likely doesn't sit well with Gerber. He admitted he's going to have to be satisfied with working hard in practice and trying to stay ready in case the chance does come along to get back in the net.

"(Paddock) didn't talk to me yet so I don't really know what's going on," he said. "I'm sure we'll talk this week. (Sitting) is not what I am looking for right now, but there's not much that I can do about it.

"I'd definitely like to get some ice time and get some game action. I don't know what the plan is. They haven't said anything."

If Emery is going to carry this club into the playoffs, then he's got work to do.

The coaching staff is concerned with the fact he's getting beaten for goals on the short side -- including two more on Saturday in a 4-3 victory over the Penguins -- but Paddock dismissed any suggestion that teams have a book on Emery.

"I'm sure (goalie coach Eli Wilson) is talking to (Emery) about it," Paddock said. "It's definitely a slightly off position or angle type thing. (Petr) Sykora's was bouncing (Saturday), but it still shouldn't go in.

"I'm hearing a couple of places that teams are shooting there. Maybe in the shootout, Columbus decided to shoot there, but that's like when people were saying we were shooting over (Martin Brodeur's) glove in the playoffs last year. The pucks went there, but it doesn't work that way."

OFF THE GLASS: C Dean McAmmond, who was a scratch Saturday with the flu, wasn't on the ice for the club's workout. His status won't be determined until today ... There was no update on RW Chris Neil, who is out for an extended period with a right knee injury ... Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza skated together in practice with Randy Robitaille on their right side.


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