Atlant Mytischi has become the halfway house for Senators goaltenders.
First, Ray Emery.
Now, Martin Gerber.
Gerber signed a one-year deal to play for the KHL club the other day, according to a Russian newspaper, replacing Emery, who came back to the NHL with the Flyers.
Gerberís salary is rumoured to be in the $700,000 (all terms US) range, but players in Russia typically donít pay tax and receive considerable perks, including free housing, a car and cellphone.
At 35, Gerber is in a different situation than Emery, who was bought out by the Senators last summer and didnít have much in the way of options after a series of incidents here. Emery was pretty much drummed out of the league for a year and did his time.
Gerber was rumoured to have been considered for the backup job with the Penguins, who settled on Brent Johnson to team with Marc-Andre Fleury.
At his age and given his level of performance, weíve probably seen the last of Gerber on this side of the Atlantic.
Was it just three years ago he was signing an $11-million deal with the Senators?
Will play for food
At least Gerberís got a job.
There are still about 40 ďnameĒ unrestricted free agents out there who are looking for work.
At the top of the list is F Alex Tanguay, though it has been rumoured for a while that he is on his way to the Panthers with a couple of other teams (the Islanders and Predators) rumoured to be in the mix.
Some of the players are close to the end of their careers (or may already be there) like D Sergei Zubov and Fs Brendan Shanahan and Mats Sundin.
But there are plenty of other players still available who still have something to contribute: Gs Martin Biron and Manny Fernandez; D Derek Morris, Dennis Seidenberg, Martin Skoula, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Francis Bouillon; and Fs Robert Lang, Petr Sykora, P.J. Axelsson, Jason Williams, Taylor Pyatt, Maxim Afinogenov, Mike Grier and Miro Satan.
Lang is closing in on 39 years old and made $4 million with the Habs last year, but was pretty effective with 18 goals and 21 assists in the 50 games he played. His season was ended by a severed Achilles tendon and that might scare off a few teams. It might have been a bit of a coincidence, but the Canadiensí incredible meltdown last year started around the time Lang went down.
Bouillon could be a bargain. Seeing him with the Canadiens over the years, he shows up and plays much bigger than he is. Heís got a question mark, too (as do almost all these guys on the list) and thatís a groin injury that kept him out for close to 30 games last year. He can be a dependable depth player for somebody.
Just about all the remaining UFAs left are probably going to have to take salary cuts compared to last year.
Hear and there
There didnít seem to be too much happening on the Dany Heatley front yesterday. One source indicated there hadnít been much in the way of meaningful discussions in close to a week ... Weíre into the arbitration hearing season (17 players had filed) and you can expect a flurry of signings before many of the hearings take place (they are due to run until next Thursday). Ottawaís Marc Methot avoided his hearing with the Blue Jackets today. The blueliner signed a new two-year deal yesterday, bringing to seven the number of players avoiding the hearings so far. The Senators donít have any players taking them to arbitration this summer. Near as we can figure, only two players had their hearings last year ... The schedule for the world hockey championship is out and itís interesting to note the first game on tap May 7 is between the U.S. and Germany at Gelsenkirchen in the Veltins Arena, which holds almost 62,000 for soccer games (it could be as high as 76,000 for the hockey game, a record) and has a retractable roof ... Yeesh, what a summer for the Blackhawks. First the qualifying offers fiasco, then the unpopular ousting of GM Dale Tallon and now word W Marian Hossa, their big free- agent signing ($62.8 million) might have a torn rotator cuff which might keep him out until December. The íHawks are stealing a page from the Islandersí old book How To Wreck Your Season in July.