Gerber won't get his back up over being No. 2

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

Martin Gerber has become a firm believer in a backup plan.

Not only in himself, but also in his alarm clock.

He's not happy with being relegated to No. 2 status, but Gerber won't kick up a fuss and start making noise like Ray Emery did last year.

Asked if his alarm clock is in working order, Gerber didn't miss a beat.

"Yes, and I have a backup," he said with a smile.

There was a belief if Gerber was going to get a chance to return to the net, it might come tonight against the Thrashers at Scotiabank Place with the Senators coming off a 4-2 loss to the Islanders Saturday. Instead, Alex Auld will make his ninth straight start.

Gerber, a potential unrestricted free agent July 1 who's making $3.7 million this season, started only one game in November -- a 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Nov. 7 in Raleigh.

Gerber, who has started only two of the last 16 games, must now be satisfied with working hard in practice.

"You have to wait for your call. That's pretty much all I can do," said Gerber, who has a 1-4-1 record and 3.17 goals-against average. (Auld is 7-6-3 with a 2.02 GAA.)

'PUSH YOURSELF'

"You have to use your ice time well in practice and try to stay on top of everything. You have to push yourself as hard as you can and try to be ready and prepared and get everything out of it that you can."

Gerber vowed he will not be a distraction.

"Never. That's no help for anybody and it doesn't help you when you try to force things," said Gerber. "You just have to put your best effort out there and hope the coaches like it and hope that sooner or later, they're going to put you back in there."

Coach Craig Hartsburg has discussed the situation with Gerber, but judging by his response, the talk was short.

"We like the way (Auld) has played," said Hartsburg. "(Gerber's) been fine. He's worked hard in practice. When his chance comes, he'll be ready ... Alex has played well and we feel comfortable with him."

NO DEAL

When Gerber was a backup during the 2006-07 season, he went to GM Bryan Murray after Emery took the club to the Stanley Cup final in the off-season and asked for a trade. But Murray was unable to move Gerber's contract.

It's doubtful Gerber has had a similar discussion with Murray this season. There is no market for a struggling goaltender with a big contract.

As for Auld, he said he understands Gerber's frustration.

"We've both been through it," said Auld, who's been a backup with the Canucks, Panthers, Coyotes and Bruins.

"(Gerber's) so professional about it and he works so hard. You can't not talk to him about (the situation) ... Nothing has changed in our relationship since the start of the year, but we probably know each other better.

"We both know this is nothing personal and we both want success for the team. I don't think you will see him become a distraction. He's such a professional and such a team guy. There is no issue there at all."


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