Now it's Alex Auld
's turn to put on a show.
Just down the road from the bright lights of Broadway, the lanky goaltender will make his Ottawa debut Monday night, when the Senators and Rangers play a pre-season rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York (7 p.m., no TV, Team 1200). Auld, a free-agent signee during the summer, is scheduled to work two periods, while Jeff Glass will tend goal in the third.
While it's his first game in an Ottawa jersey, Auld realizes it's also just an exhibition test. In other words, he's not going to think too hard and long about the moment.
"I think it’s important to approach it like a normal game," said Auld, who's pencilled in as Martin Gerber's backup this season. "There’s so few pre-season games and we’ll be right into it. You’ve got to make sure you take every chance you can to get prepared, so you have to treat it like it’s a real game.
"It's the first time you get to show yourself to everybody in the organization ... You want to prove them right for bringing me in here and believing in me but at the same time, you can’t get too worried about that stuff. I’ve just got to prepare like normal and go out and play. If I play the way I can, all that stuff’s fine."
Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg said while Auld has been designated as the team's No. 2 stopper, his role will be significant in the 2008-09 season.
"He needs to be a good goalie for us," said Hartsburg. "We’re a team that’s going to rely on both of them to be good ... We’re going to use (Auld) and he’s going to be a big part of it. He may not play as much as Gerber but on the nights he plays, we need him to play well and help us win."
Beyond the goaltenders, Hartsburg plans to ice a younger lineup tomorrow night at MSG, with an eye toward doing more serious evaluation of certain players. Veterans Chris Kelly, Dean McAmmond, Shean Donovan and Anton Volchenkov will see their first action of the pre-season, but Hartsburg figures to have a close eye on the likes of forwards Cody Bass, Nick Foligno
and Ryan Shannon and blueliners Brendan Bell and Luke Richardson.
Hartsburg expects to make another round of cuts as soon as Tuesday, as the Senators move toward getting down to the roster they'll take to Sweden to open the 2008-09 season.
"We'll probably get through tomorrow and then we’ll see where we’re at with health (wise)," he said. "If there’s some decisions that we know are going to be made, we’ll look at doing it. Going into the last three (pre-season) games, we want to play some lines that it looks like we’ll start (the season) with. After tomorrow, we’ll make some decisions on that."
Around the boards
Captain Daniel Alfredsson
, who was pulled from Saturday's lineup to deal with tightness in the groin/hip area, isn't in New York. "He's going to skate today (in Ottawa), so we'll see how he does and if he feels better today," said Hartsburg, who hopes to have Alfredsson in the lineup for Wednesday's matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., Rogers TV, Team 1200) ... Defenceman Alexandre Picard (groin) didn't skate this morning ... Centre Jim O'Brien
was sent back to the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds, reducing the training camp roster to 37 ... Hartsburg said he'll likely take three goaltenders and "an extra guy or two" to Sweden.