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In spite of the criticism during the preseason and the endless questions surrounding his anointment as Ottawa's No. 1 goalie, Martin Gerber stepped up huge tonight, holding off the Leafs and garnering a 4-1 victory to open the season.

There's no doubt that Gerber kept the Sens in it, particularly during the first when Phillips decided to begin solidifying any UFA arguments for him to leave this summer, along with Anton Volchenkov taking the plunger to any of his future trade value.

And about Gerber: Frankly for me, he's going to take some getting used to. He's very smooth -- as if his joints were all replaced with ball bearings -- but he's not as crisp as Hasek. That being said, he's also a lot more calculated with his movements. My only pet peeve (and this is carrying over from the preseason) involves Gerber's constant searching for the puck. He manages to stave off the goals, but I can never feel confident about a goaltender who is perpetually checking behind him.

Other bits and pieces...

Good to see Andrej Meszaros finally shake off the cobwebs -- he was looking atrocious in training camp.

Dean McAmmond -- the only time I really noticed him was during missed scoring opportunities. I've come to expect a lot from the old boy of late, seeing as Gord Wilson hasn't stopped talking about him since mid-September. Eventually I pondered that McAmmond should be grateful for Wilson's recent vasectomy, because what Gord was doing could potentially be described as verbal humping.

Can we talk about timing, because something's definitely off. A Sens player would skate in on Raycroft (usually whomever was on centre), take the shot, allow the rebound to come out, only to have the RW skate too far and end up behind the net -- leaving him way out of position for any second chances. It was like watching drunken virgins experimenting with the rhythm method. Could we attempt to synch it up a little better than that?

Phrase of the night: "(Leaf player) wins the faceoff..." Fill in the blank with Michael Peca, Mats Sundin or similar. Is anything ever going to be done about this?

And speaking of Sundin (and before I forget):

Minus the hair...oh, and the blood. Of course.

P.S. We make our glorious return to Butterknife Row tomorrow night! Let the high school hijinx begin!

1 response to "You did well, Ball Bearing Boy"

  1. Yeah, Gerber definitely looked fine. While I can understand an Ottawa fan being a little gunshy over the idea of lousy goaltending, that just isn't going to be a problem this year. Gerber is going to provide the consistent, not spectacular, netminding the team needs. All he has to do is not let in those demoralizing weak goals that submarined their spirit too many times in the past. And - he probably won't.

    These words are like a cowflop in my mouth, but remember I said it: Ottawa is winning the Cup this year. They're too deep, too covered in too many ways, and you can't point to a single issue on the team anymore that is an Achilles heel. It used to be in net (everybody knew Hasek's groin was going to explode) but not anymore. Havlat gone - he was a non-factor. Chara - it hurts, but the D can more than compensate for his loss in depth. Forwards - three potential 100-point men, and it seems like every position is at least a 20-goal man. They don't even need to be tough anymore - it's not like Toronto is coming to town to push them around. TSN was remarking that Chris Neil lost 60 pounds or something in recognition of this.

    Nope - they've got it all this year. It's true they still can't win faceoffs, and that did burn them before, but that was also in combination with all the other undermining factors that have been decisively addressed.

    More troublingly, many fewer people are picking them to win the Cup this year. They were the hands-down favourite last year, but this time around people are talking West; Detroit, Calgary, Anaheim. The burden of expectation that was always too much for Ottawa has been shifted elsewhere. But come on, dude. Is the team really so different with Chara gone? They're more solid in net with a deeper D...

    Bah. This is going to be such a lousy season for me. I've got Sundin to follow, and that's it. Sundin, and a bunch of anonymous slobs I've never heard of. "Who's that guy? What the - why did they give that kid number 9?"