According to TSN, Alex Auld will make his tenth consecutive start again on Saturday against the Penguins. And for good reason; Auld's been the Sens best recent acquisition, and is likely this season's most effective free-agent signing for his salary. His goals-against average is 1.96 (fifth in the league) and his save percentage is .927 (eighth in the league), and--surprisingly enough--goaltending is far from the Senators' biggest concern thanks to Auld's play.
We've all heard about Auld's stellar play, though. I know I've written about it a lot; it seems every game recap includes at some some mention of Auld's solid play at a critical point in the game, that either gave Ottawa a chance to win or kept the Sens in the driver's seat. Something that's nice to see is a backup who's far from content with his position, but isn't making a stink. Martin Gerber, just like he did when he lost the starting position two years ago, is doing what he has to do: Working hard in practice and being there for his team, preparing himself for an opportunity, whenever that may be.
Am I saying a backup is worth $3.7M if he's a good teammate? No. Am I suggesting that the Senators re-sign Gerber because he's been a team player? Shit no. I'm simply congratulating a goaltender who's conducting himself with incredible professionalism.
An article in the Ottawa Sun last week had some quotes from Gerber:
"You have to use your ice time well in practice and try to stay on top of everything. You have to push yourself as hard as you can and try to be ready and prepared and get everything out of it that you can."I'm not going to mention He Who Must Not Be Named, but it's nice to have this stability. There's a lot to be said about the level of competition that drives a backup to puch himself, but that competitive nature can be either positive--pushing an individual to push in practice and take advantage of every opportunity--or negative--pushing an individual to feel slighted. I prefer what we've got now.
Gerber vowed he will not be a distraction.
"Never. That's no help for anybody and it doesn't help you when you try to force things," said Gerber. "You just have to put your best effort out there and hope the coaches like it and hope that sooner or later, they're going to put you back in there."