New Rules & Senators Goalie Controversy

First and foremost, here’s a video that the NHL put out explaining the new rules and how some old rules will be enforced this season.

Now onto the goalie controversy going on in Ottawa just two games into the season. If you watched the Senators games against the Penguins from Sweden than you know that Martin Gerber looked bad and Alex Auld looked good. That has already created a goaltender controversy amongst the media and fans but for now head coach Craig Hartsburg says he is sticking with Gerber. Here’s what Hartsburg had to say to the media on Tuesday:

 “It’s not a controversy, really. We brought Alex in here to be a real good goaltender and in that game he was. He’s here to support and be that guy behind Martin and he’ll give us quality games.”

When asked which goalie would be in the net against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday: “Gerber’s starting. Our plan to start in Sweden was that both were going to play and obviously Alex played well. Unfortunately for Gerbs, he had a tough night but he’s going to rebound for us. Martin will bounce back He’s a veteran guy and we’ve just got to move forward.”

Here’s what Alex Auld had to say about the potential for a goalie controversy amongst the players: “That’s not uncomfortable in this dressing room at all. That’s stuff for fans and media to take part in. As a team we know what we’re capable of, we have a lot of belief in Gerbs and what he can do and I’m just here to help.”

Here’s what Dany Heatley had to say about the potential for a goalie contoversy amongst the players: “This is the NHL and we feel confident in both of those guys. They’re both NHL goalies for a reason and we’re happy and confident with whoever plays.”

Finally, here’s what Martin Gerber had to say about his performance and Auld’s performance: “(Alex) played a great game for us. He really stood on his head and was the reason why we won. For me, I have to do a better job and push harder.”

All around the Senators downplayed the situation and backed Gerber as the starter. Then again they had a long flight from Stockholm to Ottawa to get their stories straight. What did you really expect them to say publically to the media? Did you expect to hear Dany Heatley say, “There’s no controversy. Alex Auld is the better goalie and he should be starting! If Auld had played both games we’d be 2-0-0 right now! No controversy in my mind.” Meanwhile, Jason Spezza says, “Alex Auld has one good game and we’re ready to anoit him as the starter? Please. I guess we should put Shean Donovan on the top line and get rid of Daniel Alfredsson while we’re at it!”

The Senators are saying the right things and Hartsburg is doing the right thing by sticking with Gerber. If he were to pull him after one game then no goalie would ever feel comfortable in net for him again. They would all know that they were just one bad game away from being pulled. Hartsburg has to stick with Gerber…the question becomes for how long?

If Gerber is to continue to struggle, and let’s not mince words – he stunk in that opening game against the Penguins – then Hartsburg will have to pull him. The problem will be if Gerber is inconsistent and mixes good starts in with the bad. Then how long do you give him? If Auld continues to shine in his opportunities does that shorten the leash on Gerber?

I have to think that there are some players in the Senators dressing room that would prefer Alex Auld be the starting goalie. Most of them played with Martin Gerber in the past and know what he can and cannot do and they have already made up their minds as to whether or not they think he is the guy that can help them win the Stanley Cup. Auld, on the other hand, is the unknown commodity and the only time he’s played for them he was less than 30 seconds away from shutting out the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

It’ll be very interesting to see how Gerber performs under the microscope and how Hartsburg handles this situation. The Senators are in a tough Division so they can’t afford to throw away too many points waiting for/hoping that Gerber finds his form. If Auld continues to look solid I think they’ll make a switch to at least splitting the number one duties before the end of November.

Hartsburg is not doing Gerber any favors by starting him against the Red Wings, by the way. Especially if he gives Auld the start in the Senators game after that – at home…against the Coyotes. If that’s the case look for Gerber to be 0-1-1 and Auld to be 2-0-0 and for the goaltending controversy that isn’t a controversy to heat up.

About Doug Stolhand 27106 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.