Sens' Gerber has new mask, new outlook on season
Martin Gerber has taken his fair share of shots in Ottawa over the last couple of years, and most of them have been verbal ones coming from the fans and media.
Combined with the way management handled the distraction of former goaltending partner Ray Emery, it's easy to understand why the Swiss netminder wanted to be traded last season.
"Martin (Gerber) to me is a man who has worked hard every day since he's been here," said Senators general manager Bryan Murray. "He's been a little frustrated with us and the way he didn't get a chance to be the No. 1 goaltender. He's got that chance going into camp."
Unlike last year, Gerber is in camp this year assured of the No. 1 job. But that doesn't mean teammate Alex Auld won't be pushing for as much time as he can get. In light of what happened last year with Emery, he won't be rocking the boat.
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"You just have to take it day by day, and everything else doesn't really matter anymore," he said. "It's a new season and I have to make sure things go right and I'll be ready to go."
And with his new outlook towards the season comes a new look on the ice. It will be 'Revenge of the Sith' night at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place on Wednesday when Gerber breaks in a new mask that lives up to his local nickname.
Known as 'Darth Gerber' because of the all-black mask he wore last season, the veteran netminder has a new design featuring an air-brushed picture of Star Wars villain Darth Vader.
Gerber, who only recently began watching Star Wars, wasn't sure if he would be wearing the mask during the regular season. "We'll see," he said with a slight smile. "I'm going to try it over the next few days and see how it goes. It (the design) was more from Itech. We thought it was an interesting subject to put on, while still being dark and not too flashy. I think it was a really good design."
Is a picture of pop culture's most celebrated villain a reflection of his personality? "No, it's got nothing do with it," he said with a laugh. "It's just a mask."
Last season wasn't a turn to The Dark Side for Gerber, who posted some of the best numbers of his career and was the team's best player in the postseason. He will be building on that for a more confident outing this year, but now the question is whether he can be the No. 1 netminder the Senators were hoping for when they signed him two seasons ago.
"Gerbs went through a lot last year," said centre Jason Spezza. "Especially what he went through with Rayzor and the situation that was created from that. He knows Auldie's going to push him, but I think he feels it's his club right now and he has all the reason to be coming to camp with confiedence."
Written with files from TSN's Brent Wallace.