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Gerber, Sens set to face Isles

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Martin Gerber will start in goal for the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Ray Emery serves as the backup against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum (7 p.m., Sens TV, Team 1200).

In other words, the Senators’ goaltending situation lines up exactly as it did the last time the team played before the National Hockey League’s all-star break – an 8-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But Emery was at the centre of a media storm Tuesday, one day after he arrived three minutes late for a scheduled afternoon team practice: The Senators’ first workout after the all-star hiatus. Head coach John Paddock sent Emery – who said he mistakenly went to Nassau Coliseum instead of the Isles’ practice rink – back to the Senators’ Long Island hotel.

General manager Bryan Murray indicated Tuesday, following a meeting that also involved Emery and Paddock, that the goaltender’s tardiness will cost him a “substantial” fine.

A suspension wasn’t considered, Murray added, because the American Hockey League is still on its all-star break, making Binghamton Senators goaltenders Jeff Glass and Brian Elliott unavailable for a callup.

But Murray said the severity of the penalty isn’t the most important thing right now.

“It’s more the approach we’ve asked (Emery) to commit to going forward,” he said. “Just be a regular player. Work hard in practice and play when he’s given the opportunity.

“To be fair to him, he’s somewhat frustrated by the lack of games he’s gotten. He feels he’s a guy who likes to play more often than he’s been playing … He loves to play the games and he’s very, very competitive and very intense when he plays.

“But we’ve asked him to get his game in better order than it’s in and that means practice is very important (right now).”

Paddock said he considers the matter “dealt with and over.” Both Murray and captain Daniel Alfredsson insisted the frenzy surrounding Emery won’t be a distraction to the team going forward.

“I think the players are fine,” said Murray. “We and (the media) are more concerned about this than they are. The players play the game and they stick up for their teammates 99.9 per cent of the time, and this group is the same way.”

Added Alfredsson: “It’s a little bit frustrating. But (Emery) said he’s going to improve and he has been better in practice. As long as he comes out and works hard in practice, sometimes you can overlook other stuff.

“For us playing, it’s not a distraction. We’ve dealt with it before. We’re going to play and that doesn’t change anything in preparation.”

Around the boards

With forward Cody Bass (ankle) out tonight, Nick Foligno has been summoned from the B-Sens for his third stint of the season with big club. Forward Patrick Eaves (sore neck, shoulder) is also sidelined. Both are listed as day-to-day … The Senators return home to face the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place. About 250 tickets are left for the game … 1,500 tickets remain for the Florida Panthers’ visit on Feb. 7, while only 50 are still available for the Feb. 9 home contest vs. the Montreal Canadiens.  

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