Sticking by their Gerbs

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Martin Gerber left more questions than answers.

Now the No. 1 debate will rage again.

While the Senators took yesterday off to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their families, they're back to work this morning. The first question is who starts Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes at Scotiabank Place.

While Gerber stood tall for most of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at home, the fluke winner by Johan Franzen with 1:17 left in the third period has left many scratching their heads and wondering if the Senators have the right man for the job.

The Senators are standing by their man because the puck hit defenceman Filip Kuba's stick and took a weird hop.

However, owner Eugene Melnyk was seen talking with goaltending coach Eli Wilson in the loading dock immediately after the game.

The players maintain they're not concerned.

"It bounced a couple of times and it was just tough luck," said centre Mike Fisher. "(Gerber) played well. He faced (41) shots. He kept us in the game and he made some spectacular saves. It's tough when you lose like that, but he played well.

"Everyone wants to win here. For the most part, (Gerber) played solid and you can't really blame him for the loss. We've got to be better in certain areas in protecting the lead and in our own zone. I think we scrambled way too much with turnovers again."

MELTDOWN IN SWEDEN

The break between games means the questions raised after Gerber's meltdown against the Penguins in the season opener in Sweden -- three bad goals in a 4-3 loss -- are only going to get louder.

Coach Craig Hartsburg is well aware that his club has more questions than answers right now. He wasn't sure what happened on the winning goal Saturday, but maintained Gerber was the reason the Senators had a chance to win in the first place.

"There's no question it was a strange goal, but for 59 minutes he was the guy that kept us in the hockey game. If he doesn't play the way he did, then at that point of the game it doesn't matter."

Goalie options are limited even if the Senators wanted to make a move. Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin can be had for nothing roster-wise, but he makes $6.75 million and doesn't inspire confidence.

Khabibulin is not an option unless the Senators' situation gets desperate.

"This is a tough market and Craig Hartsburg has tried very hard this week to tell anybody who wants to listen that Martin Gerber is his guy," said Greg Millen, a Hockey Night in Canada analyst and a former NHL goalie.

"Now the Senators don't play again for five days, so you know that things will fuel up again because of Alex Auld's excellent play in Game 2 in Sweden, so it will be interesting to see how the week goes in that regard."


Videos

Photos