MONTREAL -- The NHL's best will likely be coming to Ottawa.
While there won't be an all-star game next year because of the Vancouver Olympics and the 2011 weekend will be held in Phoenix -- a makeup event after the 2005 game was cancelled due to the lockout -- the mid-season celebration is expected to be enjoyed at Scotiabank Place in 2012.
Senators president Roy Mlakar confirmed this weekend that owner Eugene Melnyk has been promised an all-star game. The club will make an official application later this year as no league decision has been made.
PROMISED A GAME
"Eugene was promised an all-star game when he bought the team and there has just been a series of circumstances that have pre-empted us from getting the game," said Mlakar, who's in Montreal for these all-star festivities.
Mlakar said Ottawa is a natural choice for the game.
The club has hosted two NHL drafts (2005, '08), played in the Stanley Cup final (2007) and the city hosted the world junior championship (2009) in the last four years.
People in the city would be excited to have the best players in town for the weekend.
Like Montreal, the city would embrace the stars.
"Everything that we've ever presented has been looked upon as tremendous and first-class," said Mlakar.
"I've done all-star games in two other cities and it's a great event. It's an instant sellout. It helps your tickets and your corporate clients. It would be a home run, for sure."
Senators all-star winger Dany Heatley is also excited about the possibility of the game coming to Ottawa.
"It would be great. The fans are so hockey crazy in Ottawa as well," said Heatley.
"It's the same here in Montreal with the history and tradition, but Ottawa fans are just as passionate about the team and they'd love to see the stars in Ottawa."
Flames eyed for Gerber
Senators G Martin Gerber is expected to meet with GM Bryan Murray today to decide what happens next after Gerber cleared waivers Friday. There is talk the Flames might bring in Gerber for the final 25 games of the season as injury insurance. The Flames rely heavily on Miikka Kiprusoff. Backup Curtis McElhinney has played just five games this season. The belief is a move might not happen right away, but the Flames could be interested if the Senators are willing to pick up half of the $1.5 million left on Gerber's salary.