Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
If greatness has a footman, a manservant, a chambermaid, then surely Martin Gerber is that person.
For the past two years, when hockey has been played on its grandest stage, the Swiss-born goaltender has been there. Sort of. Far from the spotlight, Gerber has existed in the shadows of that greatness while others have basked in the glory.
The Hockey News is reporting that the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will drop the puck in Prague on a compressed schedule next season.
Sources have told the Hockey News that the season will be pushed back by about a week and will begin either October 9th or 10th. In order to accommodate the change, the league will further compress the schedule early in the season rather than late in the season to avoid the season running one week longer.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
While it might appear Ray Emery is the odds-on favorite to regain the starter’s role once his wrist is healthy, there is every chance Martin Gerber will have used the time to stake a hold on the job that was his last season before he tanked it early in the year. In his first four games – all victories – Gerber has looked solid, if not outstanding.
There is no denying Emery saved the day last year. He picked up the ball when Gerber fumbled and carried it all the way to the Stanley Cup final.
But let us not forget, it wasn’t necessarily a smooth journey.
from the Ottawa Sun,
“He’s relaxed,” said Senators coach John Paddock. “He got off to a good start in the first exhibition game. Last year he didn’t get off to a good start, then had to face (the media).
“I know they have (one) beat writer in Carolina, so there’s about 20 times the amount of people in here right now and that’s every day. That makes a difference. We struggled and those things mentally were tough (on Gerber).”
Gerber admitted he had a difficult time dealing with the pressure after he arrived with a three-year, $11.1 million US contract.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
“It’s like he had a week off instead of three months. He’s continued right from where he left off in the playoffs,” Senators coach John Paddock said of Alfredsson. “I couldn’t come up with enough superlatives to describe the way he’s playing.”
“He has been just unbelievable to start the season. Everything he touches ... he’s skating well, shooting well. He just sees the ice so well,” said Senators centre Mike Fisher of his captain.
Alfredsson stood out on a night when the Senators got a great team effort. The penalty killing was flawless again and is now a perfect 20-for-20 on the season.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
If Jason Spezza ends up as a RFA come July 1, Kevin Lowe will no longer be the lone rogue GM filing offer sheets on hot commodities.
With Dany Heatley taken care of, the focus for the Ottawa Senators shifts to linemate Jason Spezza, a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
A deal won’t get done soon. Spezza’s agent Rick Curran will probably wait until the New Year to get serious talks going, giving his client time to build up yet another monster season. That’ll give him just a tad more leverage in talks.
Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail has some advice for the coaches of the six Canadian teams…
I know you are new to Calgary. So I thought I might give you some insight into your Flames. You inherit a pretty good team, a playoff team. But the West is a tough conference, the Northwest is a tough division and it is important to get the most out of your guys to even ensure a playoff spot.
Something went wrong with the back end of the team last year. Goaltending is a fragile thing. Miikka Kiprusoff was not the same goalie as in prior seasons. I know this is a sensitive point, but he is no Roberto Luongo (who was the most valuable goalie in the NHL last season).
from Darren Dreger at TSN,
Dany Heatley has agreed to a 6-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators. Sources tell TSN that the salary averages $7.5 million per year.
Although details of the structure remain confidential, sources say it’s similar to the contract Daniel Briere signed in Philadelphia in terms of a heavily weighted salary at the front of the contract that ratchets downward, making the cap hit the team will absorb more attractive.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Dany Heatley is closing on a new deal.
Sources tell TSN the Ottawa Senators are taking another hard run at signing their star forward to a contract extension.
The Sens re-opened discussions with Heatley’s agent, J.P. Barry today and its believed the gap in salary between the two sides, roughly 1 million dollars has narrowed.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Scenarios change so quickly, the starting job sometimes falls from the sky.
“You never know what the situation is,” Gerber says. “All I can do is put everything out there, try to work hard and everything else takes care of itself usually. You have to stay healthy. A lot of things play into it.”
The 34-year-old from Burgdorf, Switzerland, is more comfortable in his Canadian environment now, and more comfortable in the same old net. Known as a goaltending technician, Gerber has been working on the athletic side of his game - in particular, quickness and mobility.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com