Well folks, if the Ottawa Senators goaltending situations of years past have taught us anything, it is that it is never too early for a good crisis.
And why should this year be any different?
After only three games in the 08-09 season, most fans/bloggers/sportswriters have already started their annual OMG, we need a goalie fiasco.
Relax people…it is WAY too early to start that talk. Sure, Gerber fell apart in the third period of Saturday nights game vs. the Red Wings, but let us not forget about the 2 ½ SOLID periods he gave us to keep us that same night. We were outplayed by the Wings from the opening faceoff. Outshot, outfought, and outplayed. There’s really no questioning that fact. Gerber was there to make the saves when he was needed, and he did a fantastic job of doing just that until the third period.
On the flip side, Auld may have looked solid agains the Penguins in Sweden, but again, let’s not forget the fact that he’s 6 feet, 5 inches tall, and takes up most of the net. It is pretty hard to score, when you have a 205 lb chunk of goalie blocking most of the space between the pipes.
In the past, Auld has always been a solid backup goalie…but therein lies the problem: he has always been a backup. Gerber has been good in the past, but he seems to crumble under pressure. I mean, it is no coincidence that he completely fell apart last year the minute Ray Emery came back from his injury/surgery and started to challenge him for the #1 spot.
Personally, and I will probably take a LOT of flack for this, but F#%K it, I am saying it anyway, I was always a big fan of Razor Ray Emery…even after his off-ice antics were made public. In my opinion, a goalie should be like a quarterback or a rockstar. You need a certain swagger and/or cockiness to really succeed at that level. And there is no denying that Emery was a rockstar…look no further than the $5000 suits and his yellow Lamborghini. Gerber does NOT have either the swagger or the confidence to carry a team to the cup…but that is just my opinion.
In all honestly, I think we (or more specifically Murray) screwed the proverbial pooch by buying him out. What we should have done is gotten rid of Gerber last year, and made the move against Paddock WAY sooner. I think Ray just needed an entire team to rally behind him, like they did in 06/07. Instead, the dressing room split almost down the middle, and the team fell apart on the ice. Let us not forget, that Ray Emery was just a kid when he carried the Sens to the cup finals. They signed him to a monster contract shortly after the season ended, and it was well-known that he was the goalie of the Sens’ future. It is hard for any young player to handle that kind of pressure, and I think that we, as a fan base, should have been a lot more understanding of that. I honestly think that Emery could have been scared straight by Murray and Melnyk, if they had only taken the time and effort to get his head right.
Also, the John Paddock win and you are in system was a complete failure, and shattered the already-shaky confidence of Martin Gerber. Seriously, one loss, and you are not the starter anymore? Come on John…that is basic coaching 101…you pick a starter and go with it.
All that said, where do we go from here?
If you listen to me, then you play Gerber until he officially poops the bed. Or at the very least, you give him 10-15 games to find his rhythm and settle into his starting role.
Or, do you give Auld the nod this weekend, and watch the crystal confidence of Gerber shatter into a million tiny pieces?
The third option is to trade or waive Gerber in the hopes of picking up a top-10 goalie. But face it…there are not many (if any) on the market right now.
These are questions only Murray and Hartsburg can answer, and I for one would not want to be in their shoes right now. Because if we, as Sens fans know one thing, it is that we are brutally unwilling to lose, especially when we have one of the best teams in the league, and somehow cannot find a way to win games. Someone has to be held responsible…
I have never been a huge Gerber fan, but like I said…he IS our starter. Let us at least give him a few more games. He wanted the starting job. Well, now he has it. It is now up to him to keep it.