Just his luck

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

OTTAWA -- It stands out now as one of the worst off-season signings based on dollars and sense, especially in this salary-cap era in the NHL.

Martin Gerber makes $2.75 million US as a backup goaltender for the Ottawa Senators, three times as much as the guy who will be in the net when the Stanley Cup final starts on Monday in Anaheim.

But what price can you put on karma?

Martin Gerber is the NHL's good-luck charm.

He's the rabbit's foot, the lucky underwear, Wade Boggs' chicken, Tiger Woods' red shirt.

This is Gerber's third trip to the Stanley Cup final in the past four times it has been played and the fifth time in his past six seasons he has made it to the final of the league in which he has played.

"I can't complain," said the 32-year-old, who hoisted the Cup last year with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Neither can the teams he has been with.

Gerber's run started with Farjestads BK Karlstad of the Swedish Elite League, which won the regular season and playoff titles in 2001-02.

The next year, Gerber came over to North America and was the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere with the Ducks, who lost in seven games to the New Jersey Devils.

Gerber wasn't around for the Tampa-Calgary final in 2004, but during the lockout year, he went to the Swedish Elite League final with Farjestads again. They lost to Vastra Frolunda HC Goteborg, which had some guy named Alfredsson in the lineup.

Then there was the Stanley Cup on Tobacco Road last year.

"I've been really fortunate in the short time I've been over here, to be in the final that many times. Each team has been a little bit different. I think it has been about being around at the right time at the right place. It has just been great teams and things have fallen into place every year," he said.

Gerber arrived here as the Senators' big free-agent signing of the off-season, coming off a 38-14-6 record with the Hurricanes. He got sick just as the playoffs started last spring and lost his job to Cam Ward, the eventual Conn Smythe winner.

Hmmm. That's twice he has played backup to the Smythe winner (Giguere won it in 2003).

Gerber wasn't good to start this season, but neither were the Senators in front of him. Neither of them gave the other much in the way of help.

Ray Emery got his shot in November and you can put a circle around Nov. 15, a win over the Buffalo Sabres, because that's when Emery won the job.

Gerber was much improved down the stretch, winning 12 of his last 14 starts.

Gerber has had lots of time and opportunity to watch the evolution of this Senators team. He has seen it grow from a team out of the playoffs and engulfed in rumour to a club that has steamrolled to a 12-3 record in the post-season.

"I think this has been the strongest feeling I've felt in a dressing room, this year here," said Gerber.

"I think the belief we have in this room, the firepower, the skating ... I think it's the best of the three teams. With Anaheim and Carolina, there were nights we got killed, where we had no chance. That never happened to us this year. We had a period maybe where we got outplayed badly, but throughout the whole playoffs, we had a say in the outcome of the game. It's a huge achievement."


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