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!
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