by Todd Anderson
Goaltender Martin Gerber, who signed a multi-year contract with the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, says signing with the Sens was an easy decision.
"The fact that last year I felt Ottawa was one of the top two teams in the league -- the depth, the experience, the talent, the speed -- I just wanted to be a part of it," he said during a conference call Sunday morning from his hometown of Langnau, Switzerland. "There was another offer or two. To me, (Ottawa) was the organization that really wanted me and wants to play me."
When Gerber began his NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks in 2002-03, current Senators head coach Bryan Murray was the Ducks' general manager. Although Gerber said he did not speak with Murray before signing on with Ottawa, having a familiar face behind the bench helps.
"It's easier to make a decision if you know someone on a team. It helped make my decision."
Still, Gerber knows he'll have to work hard to earn his opportunities.
"I just want to play as much as possible, and as consistent as possible. You always have to prove yourself. I want to help this team."
Last season, Gerber won 38 games during the regular season with the Stanley Cup-champion Carolina Hurricanes. Hurricanes rookie goaltender Cam Ward played most of the games in the playoffs, however, after Gerber fell ill.
"It was a stomach flu thing," Gerber said of the sickness that began just before the start of the playoffs. "It was just bad timing. Every time you go through a year like that, with ups and downs, it helps you mentally. There are a lot of things you can take out of it."
Last season, Gerber was 2-2 against the Senators, starting all four regular-season meetings. Overall, the 32-year-old sported a 38-14-0 record in 2005-06. In his two previous seasons with Anaheim, Gerber had a combined record of 17-23-7. In his 114 NHL career Gerber boasts six shutouts, a 2.49 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.
On Saturday the Senators also signed defenceman Joe Corvo, a former Los Angeles King, to a multi-year contract. In 2005-06, Corvo recorded career highs with 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 81 games.