Wilson won't fan flames

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson is not about to pour fuel on the fire and announce his starting goaltender for tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.

Newly acquired Leafs goaltender Martin Gerber, who has gone 1-1 for Toronto since being claimed off waivers on March 4, was a whipping boy of sorts when he was with Ottawa prior to being picked up by the Leafs.

The Senators have struggled this season and Gerber, playing his third season in Ottawa, received much of the blame from the media and fans, even though his numbers were reasonable (2.86 goals against and .899 save percentage) in 14 games.

Wilson doesn't want to rev up the hype with the Ottawa media by announcing his starter until today. It's likely Gerber will get the start, although backup Curtis Joseph beat the Senators in his last start on Feb. 28 in Ottawa.

"I don't know why they want to blame the whole season on a goalie," Wilson said yesterday, following an optional practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena. "Teams win and lose as teams. Before I get the Ottawa fans all riled up, I haven't decided who's playing. Remember the last time in there, Cujo won. Remember that, please."

Wilson said the blame for Toronto's 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre could be put on Gerber's shoulders -- on paper anyway. The Leafs fired 40 shots at Edmonton's Dwyane Roloson while Gerber faced only 18. But Wilson said three of Edmonton's goals (one was in an empty net) were almost impossible to save.

"He didn't have much of a chance," Wilson said. "The first goal, the guy (Ales Hemsky) whiffed on the shot, the second one (Kyle Brodziak) the same thing. I don't think the shot went where the guy intended to shoot. Nonetheless I think he's played really well. He's a solid goalie. He plays that Quebec style, the Francois Allaire style of goaltender, he makes himself big."

Allaire is a famed goaltending coach, currently working for the Anaheim Ducks.

As for Gerber, he is approaching tonight's contest like just another game, though that may be a little hard to believe.

"It's nothing you want to think about," he said when asked what went wrong for him in Ottawa this season. "There's no point to it. You have to move on."


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