Murray backs choice to start Gerber vs. Wings

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

What goaltending controversy?

Senators GM Bryan Murray believes Martin Gerber is going to be the man who will carry this team this season.

Despite allowing three lousy goals in Ottawa's 4-3 OT loss to the Penguins last Saturday in Stockholm, Gerber will be in net for the home opener Saturday at Scotiabank Place against Detroit.

Murray is convinced that's the way it should be.

"There's no secret Martin would have liked to have had two or three of the goals back," Murray said yesterday. "He's a guy over his career, and I've spoken to some of his former coaches about this, and I even spoke to Farjestad (GM) Hakan Loob, who watched the game in Sweden and he said, 'There are nights like that and there are lots of them that will have a game like that and then bounce back and be really good.'

"We know that about (Gerber). I think we've got two really good, solid goaltenders. I don't think they're superior. I don't think they're Roberto Luongo, but they're good, solid guys. I think they give us a chance to win."

The players said they weren't surprised to hear the fans calling for Alex Auld when they arrived back in Ottawa early Monday morning from their Swedish trip.

"There's always more to it than just the black and white (of the goaltender) and the numbers and everything," said Ottawa blueliner Chris Phillips. "We're in a Canadian city and you've got to realize that and be able to accept that and deal with it."

Fisher all by himself

C Mike Fisher was the only Senator to skate yesterday at the Bell Sensplex. While the rest of the players held an off-ice workout at Scotiabank Place, Fisher was on the ice testing his groin injury that kept him out of Ottawa's first two games. "It feels pretty good. It's still not up to going really hard, but I'm just ramping it up a little bit every day and trying to strengthen it as much as possible so it doesn't happen again," said Fisher. "I'm just going to continue to skate and hopefully join the team in the next couple of days." If Fisher is going to play in Saturday's home opener, he has to practise with the team in the next couple of days. After Saturday's game, Ottawa doesn't play again until Oct. 17 vs. the Coyotes, so the Senators won't rush Fisher back. "If he feels good we'll let him practise (today)," said coach Craig Hartsburg. "If he hasn't had a practice with the team (by) Saturday, I don't want to just throw him in there. I don't think at this point of the year it's right. Maybe later in the year if there's an injury and you've got to get back in the lineup. At this point, he hasn't had a lot of practice time with the team." Fisher said he is frustrated. "I have to be smart and it's a big game (Saturday) and I want to play. If I feel that I am ready to play, I will."

Off the glass

Murray said he told C Cody Bass to go down to the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton Monday, get a lot of playing time and he'll have the chance to come back to the NHL this season. "We want him to do more with the puck," said Murray. "We told him maybe he has to play some games on Binghamton on right wing to get going up and down the ice with the puck on his stick. He thinks he's going to be a third- or fourth-line centre and he might be more than that." ... The Senators are trying to trade prospect F Alexander Nikulin. He asked to be dealt after being sent to Binghamton without getting an exhibition game in training camp. "I've had a couple of calls from teams that are interested," said Murray.

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@SUNMEDIA.CA


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