Gerber's a show stopper

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

Ray Emery's antics last season didn't really bother Martin Gerber.

But there's no question Gerber is relishing the chance to be the Senators' No. 1 goalie.

The Senators sent Emery packing after he became a distraction last year following several off-ice incidents.

While the Senators signed Alex Auld as a free agent, the Senators will be counting on Gerber.

Gerber didn't view the flashy Emery as a distraction. Their relationship was professional. While they weren't best friends, they weren't enemies.

"We were teammates, like everybody else," said Gerber. "You can't really use (what Emery was doing) as an excuse. You have to look out for yourself.

GOOD FOR TEAM

"You have to do what's good for your team. I tried to do that. I tried not to focus on anything else that was happening."

Gerber, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, is not only battling to win back respect as a top goalie in the league, he also has to start thinking about next year. But if Gerber is feeling any pressure, he sure doesn't show it.

"I know I've got to play well. I know I have to go in there and get the job done, but I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Gerber.

Gerber doesn't come across as the type of guy who worries a lot. There have long been concerns that Gerber battles with confidence issues, but none of that showed during training camp and he looked like a man getting ready to help carry the team.

The Swiss-born netminder has heard and read enough to realize he has to take his game to another level to help the Senators return to the Stanley Cup final.

NO BIG CHANGE

"There hasn't been a really big change or new approach this year," said Gerber. "The big thing is you've just got to make sure you're ready from the start. "Last year, if I wanted to get some ice time, I had to be ready to get going at the beginning. It's the same for me this year.

"If you want to get your ice time, you have to be prepared, be ready and make sure you do whatever you can to help your team win games. I believe that's the only way that you can approach this."

The Senators say they have the right man for the job. Nikolai Khabibulin, recently placed on waivers by Chicago, is one name that keeps coming up in rumours. The reality is Gerber is going to be the man.

"It's a good opportunity for me. We have a lot of new faces here. We're building something big. I want to be able to get some playing time. That's something I have to take advantage of and just try to do the job."


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